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Where can White Spots Occur?

Updated on September 1, 2012

White spots can occur on the various parts of the body due to a number of reasons and causes. It is good to note that you can experience white spots on your hands, white spots on your neck and even other parts of the body. Mostly, the common areas that are affected are mainly the hands, face, neck and back. An attempt towards the explanations of how, why and what causes the occurrence of white spots on your back , on your face, hands, neck and other parts of the body will be made here. The remedies for this problem will also be assessed; all this done in a detailed manner.

Why these white spots?

There is a variety of reasons why you may experience white spots on your hands, back, face and neck in addition to the other body parts. The most common reason includes discoloration of the skin due to depletion of skin pigment. White spots on your skin may be very awful and may lead to low self-esteem especially if you are involved in out-door activities and sports such as swimming. These white spots are even more pronounced if they affect a dark skin. There is therefore every reason to seek for information on how you can avoid these horrible white spots as well as getting knowledge on what causes them, how to treat them and how to avoid a relapse of the same.

White Spots due to Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a rare but serious infection of the skin. Human skin is given its color by melanin. This is the ingredient that is responsible for the skin pigmentation. Here one should be aware that when one is genetically unable to produce melanin then one suffers from a condition called albinism. This is however different from what is being discussed here. However, the melanocytes found on the skin produces melanin and if they are attacked or destroyed, then skin pigmentation will be affected and therefore experience white spots. If left untreated, the spots will be permanently on the areas affected. This skin pigmentation disorder is commonly referred to as Vitiligo and comes as a result of destruction of these melanocytes. It should be noted that this skin disorder affects both sexes and that the resultant spots are more visible on dark skinned individuals.

The main cause of Vitiligo are as discussed below;

· The human immune system may sometimes misjudge melanocytes as potentially dangerous to the body and attack them. This is usually called autoimmune attack. In this way, the human immune cells will launch a serious attack against very useful cells of the skin which are responsible for melanin production. This will lead to occurrence of white spots or patches on the hands and anywhere else that the attack if happening. The reasons behind this belief was derived from looking at the presence of antibodies and increased counts of CD 8 + T cells in other autoimmune diseases such as thyroid dysfunction the same as is the case with Vitiligo.

· Sometimes the melanocytes can be mal-formed and therefore have shortened life span. In this way, those melanocytes that are not properly formed will die earlier than it is normal. When they die out in large numbers, this will affect the production of melanin. This will therefore result to appearance of white spots on your hands and other body surfaces.

· Some chemicals and solvents that we usually use on our daily lives may lead to destruction of melanocytes and therefore melanin on our hands. This is especially because the hands are the ones that are mostly used to handle these daily tasks and therefore more into contact with them these risky substances. Such chemicals may include dyes and bleaches that we normally use. In this way, the affected parts of the body will have these white spots where melanin has been tampered with.

· Some Vitiligo cases are brought about by changes in chemical composition on the nerve endings due to physical damage of the nerves. These changes will result in the destruction of melanocytes and thereby altering melanin production. In this way too, you will notice white spots on the affected areas.

· It is also good to note that some small percentages of Vitiligo cases are hereditary. This means that if you have a family member who is believed to have had the condition, then this may explain why you have the same condition. However, it is very rare that this will be the case.

Manifestations of Vitiligo

It is also important to note that there is a pattern and a characteristic through which Vitiligo spots appear on the affected skin. The white spots are usually small and circular at the initial stages. As time passes, you will notice that they are expanding outwards and becoming bigger and bigger. This makes these spots to have three distinct and clear circular rings from the center to the periphery. These three rings have each its own color.

The centermost spot ring is normally white. The next is usually tan whereas the outermost is usually brown. There are boundaries on the spot and reasons for the same;

· The innermost ring is usually the largest and white in color. This is because the melanocytes at the center of the spot have been completely destroyed and depleted. This is why it is the largest and white in color. Remember that if the surface has hair, then even the hair will be white.

· As the destruction continues to expand, then you will realize that where the melanocytes are still present but in small numbers, the color becomes tan. This marks the part of the spot where melanocytes are in the process of being attacked and are dying out. Once they are completely dead, then this also turns white pushing out the other ring.

· Then comes the brown part of the spot. This is the thinnest and marks the end of attack from the center where now we have undestroyed melanocytes. If the destruction reaches this area without being treated, then it changes to tan and then white as the spot increases outwards in size.

You will realize that this condition presents unique characteristics. In case you have no other issues apart from the change in color as we have mentioned above, then there are higher chances that we are talking about a case of Vitiligo. If you notice other changes apart from the spots changing in color, then you need to consult further.

The disease also has a characteristic of affecting approximately the same area of your body in a literally inverted manner. This means that if the spot appears on your right hand on the wrist, then expect the same on your left hand on the wrist at about the same place. The very obvious characteristic of Vitiligo condition is the fact that the hair on the white spots must also be white. If you see that even the hair on your white spots on the hands and other affected parts are white too, then this is crystal-clear that we are talking about a Vitiligo case.

Remedies for Vitiligo

There are several ways through which these ugly white patches on the hands can be removed or remedied. In addition to seeking medical as well as other treatments, you can choose to hide the spots using the most available options. These options may include the use creams and lotions. These substances may succeed in tanning the white spots and thereby decreasing their visibility or even eliminating their visibility altogether if they are small enough to allow this. However, there are other remedies that one can use to treat these white spots on the back and other body parts. These treatment options are as discussed below;

There are contemporary methods to remove these white spots. The most effective, but also with serious side effects is the use of steroid creams. This is if the spots are still affecting a very small area of the skin. These creams modulate the immune system and suppress the destruction of melanocytes. In this way, the melanocytes are able to produce melanin and hence the spots are eliminated. Among the side effects of these steroid creams are the thinning of the skin and causing serious stretch marks. To avoid these serious side effects, there are other modern methods of tackling these unsightly white spots on your skin. The use of these two methods (Tacrolimus and Pimecrolimus) is the best since they are very efficient and with little or no side effects.

The use of Light therapies (UVA and UVB)

Ultraviolet B radiation, also called UVB refers to what is commonly known as the medium wave. It is good to note that these radiations derive their names and strength from the measurements of their wave lengths. For example, UVB has a wavelength ranging from 280 nm to 315 nm. It is called medium wave because it is found in between the long wave and the short wave. The long wave is called UVA or the black wave. The short wave is called UVC.

This basic understanding of these rays and their characteristics is important as it will form the basis upon which one can understand how UVB therapy for Vitiligo works. The biggest source of Ultraviolet radiation is the sun light. It is good to note that these sun rays which come in form of ultraviolet light are necessary in some chemical reactions.

Before we assess the uses of these radiations in connection to Vitiligo treatment, it is important to first understand other related effects of the ultraviolet and UVB radiations to other issues. It is a known fact that UV radiations in general cause damage to the skin and other body tissues. However, these radiations are also very important in some of the essential bodily functions and processes. Some of these benefits are listed below;

· UV is an integral part in the stimulation of vitamin D production in our bodies. It should be noted here that the optimum stimulation happens within the spectrum of UVB. It has been documented that the conversion of cholesterol to vitamin D is greatly enhanced when the skin is exposed to UVB radiation. This can go up to 1000 IU per minute according to professional resources. Vitamin D is very useful and important in our bodies. We will also see how beneficial vitamin D can become when it comes to Vitiligo therapies; this will be discussed later in this article.

· On the other hand, prolonged exposure to UV is known to cause mild to serious damages to the human body as well as other organisms. As we have already mentioned, long exposure to UV causes sun burns. Too much exposure to UV radiations is also known to cause cancer of the skin as well as damaging deoxyribonucleic acid of the human cells.

· UV is also used for the treatment of skin conditions such as Vitiligo and psoriasis. In the treatment of skin conditions using light therapies, UVA was initially the preferred option; this method has been overtaken by the use of UVB as it has become very clear that UVB has more benefits compared to UVA. The use of UVA required also the use of a drug called Psoralen (PUVA). Then the radiation would be used to stimulate the drug into action to treat Vitiligo. In this way therefore, UVB therapy for Vitiligo has become the option of choice due to its advantages over the UVA.

Radiations are, when used properly very beneficial to human life. It is therefore important to understand why the two light therapies of PUVA and UVB differ and which one is better. We have already realized that UVB is more preferred than the use of PUVA in Vitiligo treatment. These are the reasons behind this preference;

· UVB treatment for Vitiligo does not necessitate the use of Psoralen. The technique is carried out without the use of the drug. This therefore means it is easier and faster to carry out.

· Without the use of Psoralen, UVB therapy for Vitiligo therefore is void of the side effects that come with the drug. It is therefore safer and more effective. In this way, it has become more popular and preferred choice.

· Unlike PUVA, UVB therapy has little or no chances of skin cancer. This is attributed to the fact that the technique is purposely directly aimed at the Vitiligo area; it is performed with utmost precision. This reduces risk chances.

· UVB therapy procedure is comparably shorter than PUVA procedure and hence is not as time consuming. The UVB procedure is therefore faster and more effective.

· Compared to PUVA, UVB therapy is more effective and success guaranteed. This makes the process more viable and more result-oriented. It is no wonder that it has overtaken PUVA in its application preference and success.

· The best part of UVB therapy for Vitiligo, unlike PUVA treatment, can be done at home. You do not necessarily require being in a hospital in order to use UVB treatment. This makes the procedure to be more popular and trustworthy to the patients of Vitiligo.

UVB therapy as applied to treat Vitiligo has undergone improvement in its application. It has reached a deeper technological advancement where it has been made even more precise in its dealing with Vitiligo cases. This has come about as a result of using even a narrower radiation of the UVB. This has come to be known as Narrow band UVB therapy.

Narrow Band UVB Therapy for Vitiligo

This is a shorter wavelength of UVB. It is a specific and precise wavelength of UVB spectrum. This technique is the most recent and most effective in the treatment of Vitiligo. It is designed in such a way that in addition to eliminating all the UVA, it has also done away with the better part of UVB spectrum and therefore narrower and more precise.

Narrow band UVB therapy is therefore optimized for both effectiveness and safety of the Vitiligo patients. This therapy has little or no side effects and is the most successful therapy in the treatment of this skin condition. The procedure is perfectly safe to be used by children. However, it is good to note that this technique is most recommended to be used by those Vitiligo cases that cover not less than 20% of the body skin surface area. And as has already been mentioned, the patient has the choice of having the therapy done at home or at the dermatologist workplace.

UVB therapy uses three devices in its application;

· Full-length body cabinet

· Full-length panel

· Hand-held device

The first is used at the physician’s office or hospital while the rest can be used at home. It is good to note that if the Vitiligo spots are all over the body, then it is recommended that you use the panel. In case of white spots on your back, or your hands, then you may use the other devices.

Under normal circumstances, full-length body cabinet treatment initiate tanning of the skin. This is especially helpful since the tanning makes the Vitiligo spots stand out from the normal healthy skin pigment areas. It also inhibits the spreading of Vitiligo by way of quarantining the spots. During this narrow band UVB treatment of Vitiligo using the body cabinet, eyes should be protected to ensure that they do not come into contact with the radiations.

According to experience, any individual Vitiligo patient requires between 30 to 60 sessions of narrow band UVB treatment. It is wise to skip at least a day before you carry out or attend another treatment session. In this way, the number of maximum recommended therapy sessions per week should be not more than three.

The other technique which can be used to deal with these disgusting white spots on the hands as well as other body parts is the use of excimer laser. This is a simple-to-understand technique as it only involves the use of laser light to arouse the melanocytes into producing melanin. This stimulation of melanocytes increases the production of melanin and therefore the darkening of these hideous marks on the hands.

Another very important method of removing these awful Vitiligo white spots on the hands is by performing surgical operations. There are several surgical options available to deal with these ghastly white spots. Among the most important are;

· Skin grafting is the most common of all surgical remedies for Vitiligo spots. This involves the transplantation of healthy skin from other parts of the body to the parts where Vitiligo has taken refuge. This technique is called analogous because the skin is donated by the recipient. The only thing that this procedure does badly is leaving the part where healthy skin was grafted from, coarse. Fortunately, the skin can be grafted on hidden parts of the body and compensate for the hands which are mostly visible to all people all the time.

· The other surgical procedure or technique is melanocytes transplantation. This involves growing melanocytes and transplanting them on the affected areas and therefore stimulating melanocytes growth as well as multiplication. This in turn re-pigments the skin and therefore the horrendous white spots are eliminated.

Conclusion

In addition to light therapies, surgical procedures and use of creams for the treatment of white spots on your back and other parts of the body, there are a number of supplements available in the market today which can be used by those who are convalescing from Vitiligo to avoid relapse and those who are preventing any eventual attack.

These supplements are rich in vitamins and herbal supplies which have in addition to other properties, antioxidant as well immune system modulators. It is good to note that nature has a way of providing remedies to various conditions and diseases. Among the most notable of these natural remedies for the treatment of Vitiligo is Callumae. However, you should be sure to use other treatment methods alongside these natural remedies as they may be void of the necessary active ingredients of what the condition needs so that it can heal properly.

White spots on your hands as well as on other body parts may be caused by Vitiligo. Fortunately, there are different curative as well as preventative actions that can be taken against the condition. There are also great repigmentation actions that can be taken against Vitiligo.However, these actions and steps against white spots should be taken as early as possible and with consultations with your dermatologist or other professional.

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