White spots from tanning can occur for a number of reasons. The four primary reasons, which I’ll discuss here, include pressure points from the positions in which you tan, side-effects of medications, skin fungal infections, and genetic-related or overexposure-related skin pigmentation conditions.
Causes Of White Spots From Tanning
One possible but less likely cause of white spots from tanning is simply from pressure points. People relate tanning to relaxing and thus remaining still. So inevitably, their bodies will rest on pressure points where their circulation will be reduced. Locations such your hip bones and shoulder blades tend to develop these sorts of white spots from tanning most often.
Try rotating and moving more during your tanning. Of course, this is precisely the kind of problem you wouldn’t have if you chose to sunless spray tan rather than baking yourself in the sun or in a tanning bed.
Another possible cause of tanning white spots can be from a mix of certain medications and the sun. White spots can be created by reactions your skin may have to UV light exposure while taking certain medications. The medications can make your skin more sensitive and vulnerable, thus causing unexpected results when exposed to the UV rays of sunlight or tanning beds. Two of the most common drugs (although there are many) that may cause these spots to form are birth control pills and antibiotics (especially tetracycline). You will sometimes see this side-effect described as skin photosensitivity. If you regularly tan or you might be in a place where you will likely experience sunlight exposure, let your doctor know when he or she prescribes you a drug you haven’t taken before.
A third cause for white spots from tanning are fungal infections on the skin. This may sound unpleasant, but it is probably more common than you realize. One fungal infection of the skin that can cause white spots after tanning is tinea versicolor, but there are other skin fungal infections that cause tanning white spots or other discolored patches of skin. These fungal infections often affect the back, chest, neck or upper arms.
The skin fungus is often barely visible. It usually isn’t contagious, and it is caused simply by the combination of perspiration, humidity, oily skin and/or persistent heat on the skin. The fungus blocks UV rays from pigmenting your skin in irregular patterns, so it appears as white blotches. In most cases, this can be addressed with simple anti-fungal medications, either over-the-counter creams or prescription creams or pills. Some people even have some success with ant-fungal shampoos.
Our last common cause for white spots from tanning is simply skin pigmentation. For some individuals there is a genetic predisposition causing the skin to pigment in an inconsistent manner. Some individuals have areas of skin cells which don’t produce melanin so these areas don’t change pigmentation when exposed to UV rays. In some cases, this can be a condition which develops as a result of excessive sun exposure at an early age. Essentially, the skin’s ability to produce melanin in a consistent manner may be damaged. When this occurs it is called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. Don’t try to tan more in response to discovering these kinds of white spots from tanning, as the darkening skin around the white spots will only make them more distinct. Some airbrush tanning systems may help you blend these spots into the rest of your tan and using sunscreen will help reduce their appearance.
Another possible cause of uneven skin pigmentation or white patches on the skin is vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes patches of skin to depigment. The depigmentation occurs when the cells that cause pigmentation, melanocytes, either die or no longer function. This is, however, an uncommon reason for discolored or white patches.
While I hope this article helps better inform you on the causes of white spots from tanning, please remember that you should always consult a medical professional before settling on your own diagnosis and treatment._____________________________________