Dotted all over your legs, thighs and forearms, these spots are more noticeable in the summer when you are suntanned. The reason for them is simple : they have lost their pigment. The problem arises when melanocytes, the melanin-producing cells which colour the skin, stop working properly. The melanocytes are stimulated by an enzyme - tyrosinase - which is itself boosted by UV rays from the sun. So melanin is produced, which filters the sun's rays and reduces the harmful effects it can have on the skin such as sunburn, wrinkles and even tumours. But the melanocytes are delicate cells which can stop working either because of illnesses such as vitiligo or because of cell ageing. Then the white spots appear. They are neither painful, contagious nor dangerous. They are just rather unsightly.
While it is relatively easy to reduce brown pigmentation spots on the skin, it is far more difficult to remove white spots and restore pigmentation. However, there are certain vitamins which are used in the manufacture of pigments in the skin and hair, such as beta-carotene (or vitamin A) and vitamin B10. Vitamin A is found in butter, egg yolks, milk, fruit and vegetables. Vitamin B10 is found in yoghurt, royal jelly, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes and beans. There are also creams available containing vitamin A, which can reduce white spots that have appeared recently. For those who are really bothered by these white spots, it is possible to have each small lesion treated with liquid nitrogen : the area where the melanocytes have stopped working will be removed, and the consequent migration of new melanocytes will be boosted.
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