Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) is the name given to 2 to 5-mm flat white spots found on the shins and forearms. ‘Idiopathic’ means the cause is unknown, ‘guttate’ means resembling tear-drops, and ‘hypomelanosis’ refers to the lighter color of the affected areas.
Who does it affect?
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis predominantly affects fair-skinned individuals, but it may occasionally arise in darker skin. Although most often found on the shins and sun-exposed parts of the forearms, guttate hypomelanosis may also arise on other sun exposed areas including the face, neck and shoulders. The white marks are usually smooth with a reduction in the normal skin markings, but they may be slightly scaly.
They appear as part of the aging process, becoming quite common in those over 40 years of age. They are more common in women than in men. Inherited factors may be relevant as the lesions appear to be more common in family members.
What is the cause of guttate hypomelanosis?
A skin biopsy demonstrates that there is no pigment (melanin) in the skin cells (keratinocytes). There is also a reduction in the number of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes). The skin is slightly thinner than normal and flattened out.
The cause of guttate hypomelanosis is speculative. It is thought to be an inevitable part of the ageing process, with a gradual reduction in melanocytes – a similar process to greying of hair. Other theories include:
- Sun damage – the lesions are a kind of white freckle
- Non-sun related seborrhoeic keratoses – degenerative scaly spots
Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis does not appear to be due to trauma or viral infection. The white areas do not predispose to skin cancer.
Is there any treatment?
- In most cases, treatment is not required as the marks are completely harmless. Attempts to destroy the lesions may leave brown marks or larger white marks, which may look worse than the original condition.
- Sun protection is very important. Avoid prolonged sun exposure to prevent further damage.
- White spots won’t tan, so if the rest of your skin gets darker, you risk exaggerating their appearance.
- Self-tanner doesn’t help either; it doesn’t adhere to the white spots.
- There is no sure fire cure for IGH
Getting better results from your anti-aging products can be as easy as following a few simple tips from dermatologists:
- Wear Sunscreen Every Day – The sun’s rays can accelerate signs of aging.
- Do Not Tan – Tanning causes wrinkles, age spots, a blotchy complexion and skin cancer.
- Moisturize – Moisturizing traps water in the skin which makes your complexion look brighter and younger.
- Use As Directed – Active ingredients can do more harm than good when too much is used.
- Stop Using Products That Burn Or Sting – Irritating the skin makes signs of aging more noticeable.
- Limit The Number Of Products – Using too many products on your skin tends to irritate the skin.
It is important to allow time for products to work. While a moisturizer can immediately plump up fine lines, most products take at least six weeks to work and sometimes it can take three months.
Most acne stems from the following:
- 5 – 10% is hereditary
- improper hygiene
- diet/health issues
- the use of wrong products
What is the fastest way to get results with acne prone skin?
- Change pillow cases often.
- Never use a wash cloth as it transfers the P-acne around.
- Cleanse face two times a day at a minimum, more if you are into sports.
- You need to moisturize. Be sure to use the correct one to balance out oil production.
- Get clinical treatments (peels, facial, extractions) at least once a month.
Acne is a complex disease and the degree of control varies. It is not necessary to let acne make your life miserable and it need not be feared as something as untreatable. Most cases can be controlled, minimizing the severity and resulting scarring. Left untreated, it can result in permanent scarring and affect your self-image.
8. Healthy diet and plenty of water. The foods we eat and the water we drink are the basic building blocks of life.
7. Repetition and regularity. For any product to be effective, you must use it every day.
6. Nightly facial cleansing. It requires discipline and effort, especially when you are exhausted. But, you really must do it.
5. Moisturize. Use twice a day after cleansing to protect and nourish the skin.
4. Choose a suitable cleanser. Knowing your skin type will help you determine the best cleanser for your skin.
2. Exfoliate. To remove dry skin cells and to help achieve healthy, glowing skin. Should not be done every day.
1.Have a professional skin analysis. A thorough and detailed skin analysis will take into account your skin history, gathering as much information as possible to create a personalized skin care regime including recommending products that will work best for you.