Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis

Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

 

Key Points
*Skin condition which occurs as part of the aging process
*Exact cause is speculative, but thought to be similar to the loss of pigment in aging, as seen with graying hair
*Consists of small, white spots on the affected area, generally the forearm and shin, though any area exposed to sun may be affected

Guttate hypomelanosis is a skin condition which presents itself during the aging process. Consisting of small, white spots which are flat, the condition usually appears on the forearm and shin, but may develop on any skin which is often exposed to sunlight, including the neck, face and shoulders.

While the exact cause of guttate hypomelanosis is speculative, it is though that the process may be similar to the loss of pigment cells in hair, which occurs as part of the aging process. Other theories include its relation to sun damage, or seborrhoeic keratosis. The condition does not appear due to any infection or trauma, and are not indicative of an increased risk of cancer.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
Pityriasis alba
Vitiligo
Warts, Nongenital

Diagnosis
Key Points
*Diagnosis based on skin appearance
*Skin biopsy may be performed to confirm diagnosis and rule out other conditions

Guttate hypomelanosis is usually diagnosed by the appearance of the affected skin. A biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis, as well as rule out other conditions.

Treatment
*Does not require treatment
*Destruction of the lesions may worsen the appearance of the affected area
*If treatment is desired for cosmetic reasons, several therapies are available which may help
OTC Options: Cosmetics

Guttate hypomelanosis is not harmful, and therefore does not require treatment. While treatments do exist to reduce the symptoms, outright destruction of lesions may worsen the appearance of the affected area. If treatment is desired for cosmetic reasons, treatments such as cryotherapy, localized dermabrasion or microabrasion, small skin grafts, tretinoin cream, and topical steroids. Another option for affected person is the use of cosmetics to cover up the affected area.

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