How Can I Remove White Sun Spots?

Doctor Answers 11

How Can I Remove White Sun Spots?

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Thank you for your question. Hypopigmentation from sun damage is challenging to treat. I would recommend consulting with a Board Certified Dermatologist for safest and best treatment options. I hope this helps.

Removal of White Sun Spots from Arms and Legs Not Likely

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Unfortunately, white sun spots (idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis), commonly found on the arms and legs, is not, to my knowledge, correctable. This condition, in which the pigment-producing cells of the skin (melanocytes) are essentially "burned out", occurs as a result of sun exposure.  This is quite common in men and women over 50, especially those who have a great deal of sun exposure from outdoor sports and work.  This is the opposite of dark sun spots which, through various means, can be lightened. The best approach to dealing with white spots is to avoid unprotected sun exposure, wear long pants and sleeves and use a high SPF (50+) sunscreen when you are in the sun.

Sheldon Pollack, MD
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

White spots from the sun

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White spots on the skin can be many things - several of them are mentioned above (tinea versicolor, seborrheic keratoses, vitiligo, etc).  The sun can cause darkening of the skin (freckles or lentigines) as well as lightening of the skin.  These white spots, or loss of pigment, are called idiopathic hypomelanosis.  Although they cannot be reversed, using sunscreen is important to prevent further damage.  A board certified dermatologist can evaluate the spots.

Donna Bilu Martin, MD
Aventura Dermatologist

Improving white spots from the sun.

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Although it is impossible to remove the "white spots" that result from excessive sun exposure over the years, it is sometimes possible to camouflage them by improving the dark areas that surround them.  Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) also called the Photofacial, can be used on the face, chest, back of hands and arms to treat the entire sun damaged area.  This fades the darkened background color of the area, making the white spots blend in much better.  Sun protection before and after the procedures is imperative for safe and effective treatments.

Hope that helps!

Madeline Kraus, M.D.

Madeline Krauss, MD
Boston Dermatologic Surgeon

White Spots on the Skin

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There are several conditions which can cause hypopigmentation, or white spots, on the skin. If these are truly related to sun damage, unfortunately there are not any good treatment options to replace the lost pigment in these areas. Sometimes, the use of intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy can help reduce the darker color around the white spots in order to help them blend in with the surrounding skin, thus appearing less noticeable. I would recommend seeking evaluation with a board-certified dermatologist to establish the proper diagnosis in order to provide the appropriate treatment. In any case, it is always important to remember to use sunscreen daily in order to prevent further sun damage.

Best wishes,

Jordan Cain, MD
Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Hard problem to fix.

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The issue you are describing can have multiple diagnosis and each can be treated differently. It would be important to be check by a Certified Dermatologies. Some of the causes can be treated but specifically White Sun Spots (idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis), its a very difficult problem to treat currently there is no good treatment for it. I would recommend to you to use sunscreen regularly, specially living in Florida to prevent that type of lesion or other to continue to affect you skin. 

Hope this helps, 

Dr. RG

White spots on the arms and legs

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a very common problem and tough to treat (idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis)- generally- we use IPL to homogenize the color in the regionĀ  and then we can spot treat very carefully the white spots with an erbium YAG laser- a test post for a white spot is helpful!

E. Victor Ross, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Treating white sun spots

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First, make sure to be evaluated by a dermatologist to assess whether you have a skin fungus called tinea versicolor. If the white spots are predominantly on the shins and forearms, then you have idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis which is a type of sun damage and is not correctable.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Treatment of white sun spots

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It is very important to be evaluated by a board certified dermatologist to have a diagnosis rendered for the "white sun spots."  There are many clinical entities which may appear as "white sun spots" ranging from macular hypopigmented seborrheic keratoses to idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis.  The former can be treated with liquid nitrogen whereas sun protection is necessary for the latter.

Anthony Perri, MD
Houston Dermatologist

White sun spots

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White sun spots cannot be removed because they are a loss of pigment. The best thing to do is to try and fade the pigment around them.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.