There are several causes of loss of pigmentation on the skin. Most of these are, fortunately, not serious, although some can require medical evaluation. The doctors who will be qualified to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your primary care doctor
or your dermatologist
. A very common cause of hypopigmented (lighter) spots on the skin is something called post-inflammatory hypopigmentation. This is a loss of pigmented cells following an injury to the skin (such as a scratch, or chicken pox, or basically anything!). Usually this resolves, but it can be permanent. Another very common cause of hypopigmented lesions is a fungal infection of the skin, called tinea versicolor. This usually causes multiple variegated but light colored lesions on the back and chest. It can occasionally be itchy but often is not. Your doctor will be able to tell you if this is what is going on and can prescribe antifungal medications. Occasionally, white spots can develop from sun damage. This may be the cause if you are a frequent sun bather. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. If you have concerns, scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor is advised.