White patches on the skin, also known as a condition called vitiligo, are treated with corticosteroid creams, skin grafting, UV light therapy and depigmentation of unaffected skin areas, according to WebMD. As of 2015, preventative measures to prevent or cure vitiligo do not exist.
White patches on the skin can develop on any area of the body without warning, according to WebMD. The causes of vitiligo include a loss of skin pigment when melanocytes, or pigment-forming cells, destruct. Melanin provides skin with its color; therefore, patients with vitiligo experience white patches when melanin decreases within the skin.
A decrease in melanocytes within the skin can be caused by autoimmune conditions where the body's immune system destroys these cells, according to WebMD. Vitiligo affects people of all races, but the change in skin pigment is more prominent and visible in dark-skinned individuals. The white patches often appear on skin exposed to the sun, sites of injury on the skin, areas around moles, and body openings and body folds.
As of 2015, 2 percent of the population is affected by vitiligo, with most cases developing between the ages of 10 and 30, according to WebMD. Men and women are both at risk for this skin condition, although vitiligo may be a hereditary condition.