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White spots on the skin What is the cause?

Maria Fernanda
3 min read

White spots on the skin can mean from the presence of immune diseases such as vitiligo or infectious pathologies.

However, the differential diagnosis between one type of spot to another is its characteristics, forms of presentation, predominance of extension, family history, among other factors.

Now, this time we will discuss one of the most frequent causes of white spots on the skin, fungi being the microbes that cause such pigmentation.

White spots and pityriasis versicolor

Pityriasis versicolor, also called tinea versicolor, is a dermatological disease that affects the most superficial layer of the skin.

It usually does not cause symptoms and is caused by a fungus called Malassezia furfur.

White spots on the skin What is the cause? – Wellness and Health – WebMediums
Pityriasis versicolor

Basically, this fungus is part of the skin's microbiota, but when skin conditions are favorable for the fungus, its growth proliferates.

So, pityriasis versicolor are one of the white spots that most often can come out in young adults.

What are the characteristics of the spots?

These skin lesions are characterized by having regular and well-defined borders. At the same time, the shape they can take is round and the sizes of the spots can vary.

Now, why are they called pityriasis versicolor? First, the word pityriasis refers to the "flaking" that occurs.

On the contrary, versicolor is attributed to the fact that they are spots that have different shades. This means that when the spots are not exposed to the sun, they are usually brown.

In addition to this, when exposed to the sun, the spots turn whitish.

Where on the body are the spots located?

In general, areas of the skin that are very dry are not the ideal environment for the fungus to proliferate, since fungi prefer more humid and oily areas.

Thus, the most common areas for pityriasis to become evident are.

  • Back of the neck

  • Shoulders

  • The back

  • The abdomen

Is pityriasis versicolor a contagious disease?

No, pityriasis versicolor is not a contagious disease. Remember that this fungus is part of the normal flora of the skin.

What can happen is that due to predisposing factors, some people can develop the dermatological process. Such factors are.

  • Genetic factors

  • People with a compromised immune system, as it is an opportunistic fungus.

  • Environmental factors.

White spots on the skin What is the cause? – Wellness and Health – WebMediums

Mushrooms grow in environments where heat predominates. In this sense, people who have jobs related to heat sources are more likely to develop pityriasis.

For this reason, it is essential that they wear the right clothing. Also, the growth of this fungus is more common during the summer, since there is higher humidity in the environment.

Can children get pityriasis versicolor?

It should be mentioned that pityriasis versicolor is not a pediatric disease. This means that it does not come out for children.

It is good that you are clear that this fungus can cause the disease from adolescence.

Treatment of pityriasis versicolor

As it is a fungal disease, the drug used is antifungal. Oral or topical antifungals are commonly used.

An important point that should be clarified to patients, if the treatment is completed, the white spots persist is that the skin takes its normal pigmentation again.

From the above it is clear that when the skin is exposed to the sun, the area where the fungus is does not tan.

In this way, the treatment treats the fungus, but for the skin to be of normal color, it has to be exposed to the sun.