Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis (IGH) is a leukoderma of unknown cause (idiopathic). Now a leukoderma is simply a fancy term for a loss or lack of coloration in the skin. A number of conditions result in this symptom, and the loss of skin pigment is usually patchy but localized. In the case of Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis, the loss of skin pigment presents itself as a sort of polka dot of rather tiny white spots on the skin.
IGH, sometimes also called Leukopathia symmetrica progressiva, is most common among caucasians and women. However, the prevalence increases across all races with advancing age, and half or more of the population over the age of 50 experiences Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis to at least some extent.
Risk Factors and Treatment: Sun exposure seems to be a factor in the condition, since it tends only to appear on exposed skin. Exfoliation may help. Generally for leukoderma, the fruit of the Bael Tree from India has been traditionally prescribed as a natural cure.
11/27/2013: Mitz from Fl: "Hello All, I seem to be suffering from this guttate hypomelanosis. I have read all the comments on here and have not heard of anyone having success with treating this with the exception of Teds clients. Has anyone thoroughly tried Ted's remedies and have had successful outcomes? I'm going to give it a try. And will get back."
10/03/2012: Aline from Hoorn, North-holland Netherlands: "Dear, I'm 26 years old and have idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. I have red a reaction of Ted that he thinks it is a fungus problem. I just started to take MMS by Jim Humble and I was wondering if you think that this might help by this condition. I'm thinking of using MMS on the skin together with DMSO. Do you think this will work? Do you have any other suggestion to do in this case? Do you have had any comments from people that something had helped by this condition? Beceause I read a lot of tips but nowhere that something really helped.
Hope you can help me! My thanks, Aline"Replies
10/19/2012: Claude from Crestview, Fl, Usa replies: "I am a 55 yr old black Caribbean American female with IGH. The white spots started on the outside of my ankles about 10 years ago and have since moved up to leg to the outside of my knees. I also have random white spots on my outer thighs. I was concerned that in time these spots would move on up the rest of my body. So, today I visited a dermatologist who knew exactly what they were. For years, I thought that they were Vitiligo but she said they weren't. They are IGH which tends to be just confined to the lower legs. Vitiligo can be found on any part of the body. The dermatologist had a book that was devoted to just IGH and she ran me a copy of 2 pages that explained more about it. This is what's on the pages:
DEFINITION - Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis, or Disseminate Lenticular Leucoderma, comprises small, white irregularly shaped macules occurring mostly on the anterior lower legs.
ETIOLOGY Actinic damage has been proposed as a cause of IGH in Caucasians. The etiology is poorly understood in black people. Histologically, a decrease in the number of melanocytes is found and women, especially over 40 years of age, represent the majority of cases.
CLINICAL PERSPECTIVE: The discrete, hypopigmented macules range in size from 2-6 mm and possess an irregular border. The disease is more noticeable in black people than Caucasians, and may involve the trunk as the legs.
DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS Unlike IGM, Vitiligo tends to be periorificial and not confined to the lower legs.
TREATMENT OPTIONS Triamcinilone acetonide may be injected intralesionally if the lesions are cosmetically objectionable. Usually, no treatment is required.
Lastly, my dermatologist said that the injections were quite painful. I'm happy to hear that it has a name and that it won't spread to my face. I'm okay with that on injections for me. My Mom also had the same white spots. I hope this helps anyone who is seeking answers."
09/24/2012: Fe from Cebu, Sabang,sibonga,cebu, Philippines: "Hi, I have idiopathic hypomeanosis since I was in grade 5, and now im 28 years old. My skin problem now spread all over my body, it starts from the legs, then to my arms and neck.. Its very visible, I always wear jeans, im scared and shy to wear skirt and short pants. I've been bullied because of being different.. So now im really looking for a treatment, I already spend much of my savings for this but in the philippines it seems that the doctors dont have any idea for this... But I researched in the internet about the tretinoin, and thought of giving a try.. Now it's been 5 months since I used it.. I dont see any changes yet, but hoping that there will be and it will really help.. My question is, is tretinoin really good or helpful to treat my skin problem? Can you recommend another medicine? and I hope it is available here in the philippines... I really want someone to share about my problem and I'm happy to found this site."
11/18/2011: Margaret from Su, Md Usa: "Hi Ted,
I have the same white spots and read your response to the vitamin supplements recommended. I intend to purchase these supplements, but wanted clarification, on some of the supplements recommended, are you recommending a supplement call;
Boron, Borax and copper supplement
Thank you in advance for you assistance, I really appreciate it.
11/20/2011: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Margaret, I have the same problem, so has my husband. Please keep us informed of your progress..... Ted advised me a protocol quite a while ago but I haven't had the time to really look into it yet as I have had other health issues and we are moving house right now as well, so enough other stuff in my head but if you notice any difference in the spots please tell me!"
11/22/2011: Andrea from Dorset, U.k replies: "To everyone who has white 'freckles' or Idiopathic Guttate Hopomelanosis... The only thing that works is the Xtrac laser. It's available in the US but at only one centre in London. I've had IGH for years and over a year of treatments with the Xtrac laser reduced them from being very obvious (they are on my upper neck under my ears and upper chest) to being acceptable. But they haven't completely gone and the cost of laser treatment is prohibitive for that period of time (thousands of Â£'s). Avoid the sun, please. It makes them worse. It's the sun that causes them. No vitamins/creams/ etc work at all so save your money. (Tried everything). Basically they are white freckles and we should all start 'loving' them rather than hiding them! And be realistic; they don't cause death nor are harbingers of cancer."
12/12/2011: Luvdusun from Fayetteville, Nc Usa replies: "Anatabloc may help. I started taking it because of an itchy skin condition on my scalp that caused huge dandruff flakes. It only took three days for Anatabloc to make that go away. But when I stop taking it, the condition returns. So I have been taking it for three months now and noticed that the very prominent white spots on my forearms had faded to the point that they are almost unnoticeable.
I had not bothered with them because they did not hurt and I figured that it was just my age. But when I noticed that they have about disappeared, I started looking to see what they were in the first place. That is why I found this website. FWIW"
10/05/2013: Gokhals from Ca, Usa replies: "You probably have a fungal infection then. Spots on the skin - light and dark occur for a variety of reasons - hormonal, disturbed metabolism, drug side effects, missing nutrients, toxic loads on body, fungal and other infections, digestive disorders etc. Take a careful look at these. If a certain remedy works, work backwards from it to understand the cause of the problem. The same problem will likely plague other members of your family."
08/18/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France: "You advised me to take bicarbonate of soda twice a day, after dinner and before sleeping but I have a doubt, as I have a slow digestion won't that slow it even more or should I try anyway?"
08/06/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France: "White spots on the skin question for Ted or Bill
Here goes my question again: I seem to be suffering from Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis which is not the result of a fungus but the fact that the skin is tired of the sun. The spots begin in the legs and spread to the arms and chest. I am looking for remedies for this which is not easy. On the Internet I found that topical retinoids, steroids and tretinoin cream might help. Does any of you have other suggestions? A doctor in Portugal gave me an iodine liquid which he prepared himself but it didn't seem to help (I stopped applying it) and told me to wash myself with a clay soap which was very aggressive and made things worse. In the meanwhile a cousin of mine told me that people used to mix a bit of iodine in the coconut oil which they used as a sun tan oil on the beach in order to get a darker tan. Would that maybe help? I do use coconut oil in the sun and I feel that it works wonders: I never burn and get a lovely tan while my skin is very soft. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated because I am so afraid that I will lose my skin color. Skin doctors as a rule have no clue."Replies
[YEA] 08/07/2010: Gena from Redondo Beach, California replies: "It's been a while but a friend of mine had large white (loss of pigment) patches covering his chest area and I wanted to help him. His chest actually looked like he was a "pinto" (as in horse) it was that large of an area. I am not saying this will work for you but in his case, I had read about paba (one of the B vitamins, I. E. , para-aminobenzoic acid) helping with pigment, skin and gray hair. Well, we tried 50 mg. A couple times a day (not scientific by any means) and it all filled back in with normal skin color and he was happy. I also tried it for myself and numerous white spots (loss of pigment areas) all filled back in. *for us, this worked. Good luck!"
08/16/2010: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "Francisca,
I recently have some good results for people taking 500-1000 mcg of B12, 20 mg of folic acid, and 3000 mg vitamin C a day. In research studies they found people with this skin problem have very low levels of that. Sometimes low copper levels also have an effect, and chlorophlly supplements is also taken, or perhaps copper supplements at 2 mg a day for perhaps a month. It takes about 1-3 months to get repigmentation to just start, however. There is some success in research studies in repigmentation when those supplements are taken. During the supplementation it helps to get out in the sun so that the skin can repigment faster. There was one earthclinic reader last year that had another condition, but under another name, vitiligo and also had success, after the antifungal remedy didn't work and has restored after taking B12, folic acid, vitamin C, and some copper supplements also. As for Beta Carotene it colors the skin to cover up the depigmented area and is somewhat helpful if plenty of beta carotene is taken, but it is a temporary solution. I believe the underlying cause is hypomethylation. Of course hypomethylation requires a bit different kind of supplements, in addition to B12, folic acid, and B6, it also is a must to take trimethylgycine. People's ability to absorb B12 is reduced with age, but methylation in the body is also reduced and I think 1000 mg of trimethylglycine is helpful. Age spots is also somewhat of a liver problems, and perhaps glutathione or its precursors such as N Acetyl Cysteine or just L Cysteine, glycine (or trimethylglycine) and glutamine is helpful, where N acetyl cysteine at 500 mg, or L cysteine at 500 mg, glycine 1000 mg or trimethylglycine at 1000 mg is the common dosage and glutamine around 1000-3000 mg a day. When taking any copper supplements it is important to take some zinc, such as 5-10 mg so that copper and zinc levels in the body remains undisturbed.
Also pantothenic acid B5 was used to reduced a condition as Vitiligo, but for hypopigmentation in general the dose I used is closer to 100-500 mg a day.
08/16/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Dear Ted,
Thank you very much for your quick answer. I will start by following your advice for the white spots and if they get better I will maybe work on the age spots as I have a lot less of those. I live in North East France so we are not blessed with too much sun but I try to be in the sun as much as I can. I am taking Vitamin C 3000mg at this moment because of my allergies (no specific allergies, year around), started a few days ago so I will also look into the Vit. B12 and the folic acid. I suppose one shouldn't be treating too much pigmentation as in the age spots and too little as in the white stains at the same time? As far as the copper goes I take molasses regularly, would I need more?
An Earth Clinic read recommended PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid). My husband, who is a scientist was horrified because he said that it could promote cancer. It is not that I don't trust my husbands opinion but sometimes I think that he knows the compounds maybe in another form and not in health supplements. He also disagrees with MSM because he thinks that it is also dangerous.
As far as age spots being a problem of the liver that I have heard all my life in my home country, Portugal. I also have eye floaters (those little dark flies one sees flying around which are very annoying - I am myopic) and I have heard that at least the Chinese think that those are also connected to the liver. I had hepatitis A as a child, maybe that is connected?
I think that you do an excellent job and I can't thank you enough.
Have a wonderful day,
08/16/2010: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "Molasses would be fine for copper issues. As for B5, I prefer pantothenic or panthenol forms. Some places may have UV bulbs and in another as tanning salons if there is lack of sun during winter season. Most allergies are fungal in nature, so alkalization as 1/2 teaspoon baking soda twice a day and vitamin c but without calcium are helpful.
08/16/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Half a teaspoon of baking soda in water?
08/16/2010: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water 30 minutes twice a day preferably after dinner and another before sleep.
12/19/2010: Karin from Sydney, Nsw replies: "Hi Francisca
I'd like to know if you had any results after months of taking those supplements for the white spots. I'm getting worse by the time. My skin is looking like a leopard! Thank you,
12/20/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Hi Karin, nice of you to contact me because these past few days I had a good look at my skin and despite not having been in the sun since September because it is winter here they are still very visible. I also hate them but I haven't had the opportunity to try Ted's remedies yet as I have been trying to get rid of my allergies first and I can't take everything at the same time. What I did was to use coconut oil (I don't do it every day though.... ), used an iodine lotion a doctor gave me but it didn't really seem to work so I stopped, used vit E for a while and other vitamins. Nothing seems to help although I am going to stop taking supplements with magnesium stearate because I noticed that no matter what I was taking (and I was taking quite a few things), nothing ever really did seem to work. Was it the magnesium stearate? I don't know! I won't take it again though! You can find what Ted advised me on the section about this problem, I believe if not contact me and I will send his e-mails to you. Please keep me informed if anything works for you because I am quite afraid I will look like a freak some time soon: rigaud(dot)williams[at]gmail.com. By the way, I am 53 and it seems to be connected to the age. I have had them for a lot of years but they are progressing faster now! We are going to Britain for Christmas so I might buy MSM for my allergies, who knows whether it might help with this too...."
07/22/2011: Carolina from Cancun, Mexico replies: "Te, I have a daughter who will turn 6 AUG 20. I have been noticing. Tiny whites spots on her and I don't want to get ahead of myself but they have not gotten biger yet but seems to be getting more of them maybe. What should I do? I have read ur recomendations on other people but I don't know for my child! We have been in cancun for two years and I thought maybe the sun was doing her harm but I am not sure. Now she is has a little more than tan skin tone if this is helpful. I have read so much of your helpful advice on colds and other info and I am glad you are on this site! God Bless u and all your kindness! Thank you carol!"
07/23/2011: Sue Ellen from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "I noticed you live in Cancun. If your child is playing in the ocean, the white spots are likely just mineral spots. Salt and other mineral in ocean adheres to the skin and can interfer with pigmenting of the skin but not permanently. Applying sunscreen can help, but she probably doesn't need anything else as the spots are salt spots are not harmful."
08/15/2011: V from Oak Run, Ca, United States replies: "I was browsing the web and googled white spots and it came up with this wierd sounding name. I have never heard of it, but I also have it on my forearms. Getting worse as I age. I have suggestion, however I have not been taking this remedy long enough to find out if it will work. I recently started making water kefir from organic water kefir grains. You can get them from several reputable companies on the web. I bought mine from Cultures for Health. They have great videos on their website instructing how to make this remarkable drink. It is a living organism and you care for it, and it cares for you. There are numerous health benefits to this amazing little group of organisms, but one is that it does wonders for your skin. If it does not help the white spots, you will still benefit greatly from drinking it daily. Oh, and once you buy it, if properly cared for it will multiply and you can give excess grains away to friends. Free is always good....."
08/19/2011: K from Sunny Isles Beach, Florida replies: "I also seem to be suffering from Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis and in desperate need of a cure/treatment. I'm only 32 but have very fair skin (am Asian) and unfortunately I just moved to Florida! Those of you who have been taking supplements, how has that worked for you? I read something about acupuncture also helping - is that a myth?
Any suggestions are welcome!"
08/20/2011: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Hi K, you are lucky, like my husband you have fair skin so the spots are not so noticeable. I am a darker Southern European so I look like a Dalmatian! So far I have found nothing that makes these spots disappear. I had accupuncture once for a few issues, I don't remember whether I mentioned this but is someone seems to have had good results I will surely try again! I have just tried a gel against fungus but it didn't do a thing because this doesn't seem to be fungal. I have tried a iodine liquid which didn't do anything either.... Creams for viltiligo, ACV to see if it would even out the color of the skin.... Not work either.... Lemon juice...... There must be an answer but I don't know what it is! Ted once recommended some supplements but I take so many supplements and no changes!"
09/25/2011: Bigdadi from Boston, Ma Usa replies: "Francisca
If you have year round allergy, please try Echinacea. Me and my son had success of it. It happened by accident as side cure as we took Echinacea in winter months (dec-mar) for purpose of helping to prevent the flu. After a couple of months 1 capsule daily, our sneezing every morning is mysteriously gone. We then think it must be Echinacea which keeps immune system to its top defense."
09/26/2011: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Thanks for the advice. I have started taking it a little while ago and indeed I don't sneeze so much anymore or hardly ever! I used to take it many years ago when I felt a big cold coming up and it always worked to minimize it!"
01/09/2013: Sen from Nyc replies: "I'm African American and just turned 30. Wishing I would have used sun screen while out on the beach. Anyone find something to help stop the white spots from multiplying? My dermotologist said there's really nothing we can do but maybe try to burn them and see if they heal and turn back to my natural color. I will not try that, sounds to extreme plus he does not advise we do."