When you look at your freckles on your arms, you probably see light brown, dark brown, and white ones. You know to keep your eyes on your freckles in case they turn into something more ominous. However, those white freckles that you see on your arms may concern you quite a bit. And there is a name for these white freckles. They are called idiopathic guttae hypomelanosis or IGH.
Is Idiopathic Guttae Hypomelanosis Something To Worry About?
It is understandable that you would worry when you see that you have a case of IGH. Especially with all of the warnings that you see that any strange mark on your skin could potentially be malignant. But the good news is that IGH is benign. They just can look distressing if you are the type to worry about your health.
IGH is characterized as smooth and flat white surfaces on your skin which ranges anywhere between two to five millimeters in diameter. They don’t cause any symptoms such as itchiness and discomfort, and the only thing they do is cause you to become potentially self-conscious as they can be hard for you to look at if it really does bother you.
There is a meaning behind its label. The term idiopathic means that there is no known cause for any condition. Hypomelanosis means that the skin has less pigmentation, and guttae are the meaning for a tear-drop shape. That is what these freckles look like – white teardrops on your arms. Even though they are not a cause for concern and are benign, you will want to know why you have them whereas some people do not.
What Is The Cause Of Idiopathic Guttae Hypomelanosis?
The cause of IGH can be due to genetics. You could be genetically prone to the skin condition and it is not the same thing as vitiligo. Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition where the melanin is attacked by the immune system which causes there to be white spots on the skin. IGH is not, and even though genetics plays a role, long-term sun exposure can cause this to happen and it is also tied to having fair skin as well.
IGH is found not just on the arms but on the neck, shoulders, and shins, but not on the face. And women seem to be more affected by men as well. There can be methods to treat it if you are quite concerned and very unhappy with the appearance of having them on your body.
How Can You Treat Idiopathic Guttae Hypomelanosis?
If you are genetically predisposed to IGH, then you may not be able to get away with treatments for it at all. But you can still try and if you do what you can to monitor them and avoid further spotting from happening, then you may be able to do that. There are topical Vitamin A skin creams that can help with reducing the appearance of IGH, and you can always go to your dermatologist for the treatment if you really feel you need it.
Another thing you can do is to always wear sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 in order to keep your skin protected from developing the condition. You want to wear sunscreen that is strong regardless because those UV rays are harmful to your skin as you are aware that you can easily end up with accelerated aging – and if you don’t wear sunscreen that is strong enough as well for prolonged periods out in the sun, you are increasing your risk for skin cancer to happen. Regardless, use sunscreen.
It is also ideal to go and spend your time outdoors when the UV rays are at its lowest which is before 11 am and after 3 pm on a typical summer day. But you still want to protect yourself even though that is the case. UV rays may be less powerful but they are still there.
You can also if you can handle it, cover your arms, shoulder, and legs by wearing light-weight breathable clothing so your skin is not at all exposed to the sun. Always wear a hat as well which will help protect your face and a wide-brimmed hat will keep your neck protected. However, you will want to make sure if you do this to drink plenty of water as you don’t want to get overheated.
Therefore if you have IGH, as uncomfortable as it is to look at, it is harmless.