A patchy, white skin on the face is an indication of a skin problem. This happens mainly because of loss of pigmentation in the skin. The process of pigmentation involves a special kind of skin cells known as melanocytes that produces a dark brown pigment which gives a specific skin color to every individual. When the pigmentation process get disturbed due to some reasons, then melanin production of the facial skin goes down and result in white patches on face. Such marks appear not just on face but may also on the skin of various other parts of the body as well.
White Patches on Face: Causes and Symptoms
There are several causes that can lead to formation of whitish patches on face. Some of the main causes are as follows:
Leucoderma: This is also referred to as vitiligo disease. Here, the size of the patches grow with passage of time. The leucoderma causes are not clearly known to us. In many cases, it has been found to be an autoimmune disorder. In some cases, it is hereditary and the disease run in families. It can affect people of any age group but are more common in women than in men.
Pityriasis Alba: This is one of the most common cause of white patches on face in children. It is a chronic skin disorder where the white patches mostly appear in the winter. It make the affected part of the skin dry and scaly. The size of the patch is usually 1 or 2 cm in diameter but in some children they can be as big as 20 cm. The cause behind such spots have not yet been found but it can be triggered by stress, heat, smoke, etc.
Nevus Depigmentosus: This is another case of pigmentation problem. These white patches on skin are actually found at the time of birth only. As the child grows, the marks become more and more prominent. This is due to abnormal functioning of the melanocyte skin cells and result in low production of skin pigment. The localized skin lesions of nevus depigmentosus are more stable than that of leucoderma.
Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis: This gives white spots on face that are small in size and are flat and round in shape. It is a genetic disorder and it is often associated with aging. It is more common in men above the age of 40. In this condition, the affected part of the skin becomes thin and the number of melanocyte skin cells decreases. As a result, no melanin is produced at all. Such spots are more visible after prolonged exposure to the sun when the facial skin turns dark except for those patches.
Other Causes: White patches may develop on face after healing of any kind of skin injury. The skin may suffer physical damage due to some accident like burns or by some chemical exposure or by skin inflammation condition like acne. Such white scars happens if the injury causes damage to some pigment producing melanocytes cells so badly that they fail to produce pigment anymore. Tinea versicolor is not a pigmentation problem but a fungal infection that causes white patches on face skin. The fungus pityrosporum ovale is responsible for this condition. It is more commonly found in people who live in hot and humid climates.
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White Patches on Face: Cure and Treatment
When you discover white patches on face, then you need to contact a dermatologist to ascertain the exact cause behind the problem. Leucoderma is often treated with oral medicines that contains antioxidants. Then there are medicinal ointments which has to be applied topically on the spots on the face. Melanocytes cells that have stopped producing melanin can also be activated with the help of phototherapy. The patches of pityriasis alba in children can be healed by regular application of moisturizing cream. Fungal infection can be treated with good skin care regime that include cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing along with the application of anti-fungal creams. Rinsing the face with apple cider vinegar also helps to keep the infection in check. Sometimes, laser resurfacing is used to get rid of white spots left behind skin injury or fungal infection.
Most of the causes of white patches in face can not be prevented. Sometimes, women try to hide the spots with cosmetics and delay the treatment. This should be avoided as a timely treatment is a must not just to cure the problem but also to control any further aggravation in the condition.