Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the white spots around my freckles?"
I have a lot of freckles on my back and shoulders, and around some of them there are little white spots. Their real hard to see. I don't have skin cancer do I? I'm only 21 and kind of scared as to what these spots are.
Oddly enough, sometimes if you look very closely at a freckle or mole you may see a little halo of paler skin surrounding this. I am not sure if this is what you are referring to. If so, generally this is actually just an optical illusion from the contrast between the dark freckle and the lighter surrounding skin. If on the other hand you are talking about small white specks that are separated from the freckles (not halos around them) then the mostly likely condition is something called tinea versicolor, which is a skin fungus. It is easily picked up in tanning beds and other places, but it is easily treated by antifungal medications if your doctor confirms the diagnosis. Sometimes a mole is surrounding by a large halo of paler skin. This is called a halo nevus, and is generally a benign condition (not skin cancer). However, all big moles should be checked out by your primary care doctor or a dermatologist to make sure there is no evidence that they are progressing to cancer. I would start by showing the spots to your primary care doctor. In the meantime, protect your skin with sunscreen and moisturizer and avoid tanning booths or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
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