ZocdocAnswersWhy are their white blotches on my back?

Question

Why are their white blotches on my back?

I lay out in the sun a lot, like almost everyday. I was looking in the mirror and noticed that the tan on my back also has a lot of white blotches too. Is this something to be worried about? Should I stop laying out in the sun or is just part of my tan?

Answer

Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to get too much sun exposure. This is because the rays of the sun will prematurely age your skin, and they also put you at risk of skin cancer later in life. Although you may be able to mitigate the effects of this somewhat by using a sun screen lotion, in generally lying out 'every day' in the sun is far too much sun exposure. That being said, it is unlikely that the white spots on your skin are either from premature aging or from skin cancer at this point. It is much more likely that they are something called 'sun fungus', or tinea versicolor, which is a fungal infection of the skin that is very common. The patches of skin where the fungus lives tend to be paler than the surrounding skin and more resistant to tanning, which is why they appear more pronounced after being out in the sun. Fortunately, tinea versicolor is very easy to treat. I would go see your primary care doctor. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis for you and provide you with the medications that you need in order to clear up the infection.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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