Do You Get Those White Spots When You Tan?

white spots

When we were younger, excessively tanned skin, peppered with white spots was ‘old people’s skin’.  Which is why finding them on your own arms and legs could be quite traumatic.

These flat white spots, known as idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis, or IGH (If the ‘idio’ part of the wording irked you, you are not alone) are benign, and seem to be more evident after sun exposure.  Chances are these spots haven’t just surfaced, they have been brewing for a while… with cumulative excessive sun exposure over the years they surface.


white spots


So what to do about them…The bad news is that you can’t stop them from surfacing while sitting in the sun!  If you want to stop them, you need sunblock and limited sun exposure.  The good news is that you may be able to reduce their appearance…. There are a number of techniques, some more drastic than others.


white spots


Our favorite of course is the 4 month, consistent use of retinol, specifically tretinoin (a prescription-strength retinol) which has been found to be effective in treating IGH.

Secondly, topical steroids which have been known to reduce the visibility of the spots also.  Triamcinolone (a synthetic corticosteroid) specifically.  You will need to speak to your dermatologist though..

Thirdly, cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy or ice treatment.  Although the results are said to be very good, the treatment seems to be harsher than the symptoms..

Lastly, dermabrasion..  Again a treatment not without its side effects… but overall extremely effective in the treatment of IGH.

As always, please consult your physician.  We don’t claim to be doctors, just spreading the good word 🙂