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Skin Care and Diseases

White spots

08/28/2006

Question:

I have white spots on my elbow and ankles due to a bad infection. It there a dermatalogical surgery that can help bring some color back to these white spots? I read about a surgery where normal cells from another area of the skin may be used to help with this problem.

Answer:

Loss of color is a very distressing problem and not infrequently follows inflammatory lesions of the skin.  Re-pigmentation is slowly passed and is most satisfactory in areas that have numerous hair follicles.

There are other issues such as vitiligo that may be at play, and does need different forms of treatment.  A world authority on pigmentary disorders is Dr. James J. Nordlund and can be reached via his e-mail at jjnordlund@fuse.net.  He may be able to arrange to see you to establish the exact diagnosis and then prescribe treatment that may be helpful.

In the meantime you can use a waterproofable cosmetic.  There are a number on the market.  I frequently use Dermablend.  It is handled in the cosmetic department of Macy's, Sears Roebuck, and some Penny's.  Call your department store.  They can choose a color that will match your tones very well, and they can be waterproofed.  These would be "first aid" while you await a special consultation with an expert such as Dr. Nordlund.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati