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White Blotches on Elbows

by
author image Shannon Marks
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.
White Blotches on Elbows
White blotches on elbows Photo Credit Suze777/iStock/Getty Images

White spots or blotches on your elbows can have a variety of causes. In fact, a white patch on the skin should not be a cause for alarm. In most cases, the blotches are likely mild eczema or a superficial yeast infection. Noting other symptoms, including itching, irritation, peeling skin or pain can help you diagnose your condition.

Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is believed to be an immune system problem characterized by itchiness and inflammation on the skin. Eczema is typically chronic and may present along with asthma or allergy symptoms. While the condition is usually seen in babies and children, people with eczema may continue to have episodes in adulthood. It can also occur for the first time later in life. Avoid soaps that can irritate your skin, such as those that contain perfumes. Over-the-counter creams can help relieve itching.

Pityriasis Alba

Pityriasis alba, characterized by white, scaly patches, is another common condition that can occur after spending a lot of time in the sun, according to DrGreene.com. Pityriasis alba is characterized by dry, fine scales that vary from 1 to 2 inches around. Children aged 3 to 16 are especially prone to this condition. Lubricating the affected area with a moisturizer, especially after getting wet, such as in a pool or shower, can keep your skin hydrated. Sunscreen will minimize the appearance of discoloration. Your doctor may also prescribe a topical steroid.

Pityriasis alba is known to fade on its own but could take several months or years. It’s not uncommon for some people to have a recurrence each summer.

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Tinea Infections

KidsHealth.org reports that tinea infections are a group of common skin infections that include ringworm. Tinea versicolor is a mild fungal infection that is similar to ringworm. Both of these conditions are known to cause white patches to appear on the arms and other areas, especially in humid areas and during the summer when the surrounding skin tans and darkens. While tinea infections can affect anyone, people who take steroids, sweat excessively, wear tight clothing, and are chronically ill are at risk for developing them.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo, a condition characterized by the loss of skin pigment, appears as white blotches on the skin. While vitiligo is not a dangerous condition, it often causes a lot of distress because it affects your appearance. Vitiligo is not an infection and it’s not contagious. It affects people of both genders and all races. There is no cure for vitiligo, but there are things you can do to conceal the spots. Wearing sunscreen will keep the surrounding skin from getting darker. Cosmetic concealers can add color to the white spots.

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