Q:

What do you do about white spots from tanning?

A:

Quick Answer

There is no cure for white spots caused by tanning, but wearing sunscreen daily prevents further sun damage so that the spots do not increase in size. You can also attempt to cover up the white spots with makeup, or visit a dermatologist for light-emitting treatments such as Fraxel.

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Full Answer

White spots, or idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis, caused by tanning, occur when sun damage accumulates to the extent that skin cells lose their ability to produce melanin. The affected spots lose all color. Because sun damage causes white spots, avoid the sun, wear a hat when outside and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 in all types of weather to prevent additional spots.

Light-emitting treatments for white spots are also available, but these treatments do not target the white spots directly. Light-emitting procedures instead attempt to lighten the brown areas surrounding the white spots. The objective is to lessen the contrast between the white spot and the regular skin so that the spots are less noticeable.

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