From our good dermatologist friend, Dr. Carolyn Jacob (Chicago):
Not sure what to do about those white spots?
For the more than 15 million Americans who suffer from eczema, the sun can be their biggest friend or foe. While sunlight can help soothe some people’s skin from this chronic condition, it can cause large white blotches known as pityriasis alba, in others. “When normal surrounding skin tans the inflamed white spots do not tan as well, and sometimes they look worse,” Harvard-trained dermatologist Dr. Carolyn Jacob notes.
Fear not! There are ways people can avoid having uneven skin.
· Wear an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply every two hours.
· Moisturize constantly! It’s best to use fragrance-free moisturizers.
· Use medicine for the eczema such as steroid cream and immunomodulators.
· If possible, avoid the sun so the contrast in skin colors isn’t as great.
· Don’t worry about permanent blotches, as the spots will ultimately disappear.
Dr. Jacob notes that people should not self-diagnose. It is important to visit a doctor to get these spots checked out, as they are commonly confused with a skin infection called tinea versicolor, an overgrowth of yeast.
Dr. Carolyn Jacob is fellowship trained in Cosmetic and Laser Surgery from Harvard Medical School. She has authored several book chapters and journal articles in the field of cosmetic and Laser Surgery. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is an Associate Clinical Instructor at Northwestern Medical School. Jacob is an active member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, and the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.
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