ZocdocAnswersLight spots after tanning?

Question

Light spots after tanning?

I'm a woman, age 34, and when I get tanned, some spots of my face stay much lighter. They seem to fade when my tan goes away but I am worried and don't know what they are. Should I see a doctor?

Answer

This is actually a fairly common complaint. Areas of the skin that fail to tan can be a skin fungal infection called tinea versicolor. Basically what happens is that the fungus invades the skin and grows just under the surface. They can turn the skin red, orange, dark, or colorless. The most common complaint is having areas of the skin which do not tan. Another more rare possibility is vitiligo. This is a syndrome where areas of the skin lose there pigmentation because the immune system attacks the pigmented cells. If you had a very mild case, then you may only notice it when you skin tans. I suggest that you schedule an appointment to see a dermatologist. The reason that I think you should jump strait to seeing a specialist is because of these areas being on your face. You don't want something that is affecting your most visible skin to go untreated. Tinea versicolor does not typically invade the face and thus, other possibilities should be explored. A dermatologist will be able to closely examine the areas that do not tan, make a diagnosis, and recommend treatment. Hopefully you will get to the bottom of this soon. Good luck.

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