Skinrepublic
Jennifer Toledo-Tan M.D. (The Freeman) - April 3, 2017 - 12:00am

Dear Dr. Jen,

I have white spots on my face.  My doctor gave me hydrocortisone and sulfur soap.  I noticed that a few weeks of applying it, the white spots have spread to my neck and back.  So I stopped it immediately.  Is there a better medicine than this?

Rina

Dear Rina,

The white spots could be a manifestation of a fungal infection called “pityriasis versicolor.”  Pityriasis versicolor can appear as white or tan spots on the back and chest, as well as the face and arms.  Sweat and heat encourage the yeast to get out of control, producing the unsightly whitish or brownish spots.  It can be scaly and itchy, especially in hot weather.  Hydrocortisone can encourage fungal growth with prolonged use.  Best to discontinue it.

A more effective regimen would be to use anti-dandruff shampoo as body wash.  Active components like ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, or cicolpiroxolamine are ingredients you want to look for in a shampoo.  Daily use of this shampoo or body wash for a few weeks will eliminate the yeast on the body. Oral antifungal agents can also be taken if the infection is severe or unresponsive to the shampoo.  The color will naturally get back to its original color in time!

Dear Dr. Jen,

I used to have terrible back acne a few months ago.  Now I am left with brown spots on my back.  What is the fastest way to become flawless before bathing suit season kicks in?

Sol

Dear Sol,

Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or dark scars from acne can be bothersome on the back.  However, it is easily remedied.  Whichever treatment course you plan to undertake, make sure to eliminate breakouts first.  Treating scars will be useless, if you continue to have pimples.

Depending on how soon you plan to debut in your swim suit, there are several options.  Laser treatment may need one to two sessions and is probably the most expedient.  Chemical peels done weekly can get you there in three to six weeks.  If you are not in a hurry, using whitening agents, prescribed by your PDS derma can achieve a flawless back in four to eight weeks. (FREEMAN)

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