Pediatrician Answers Teen’s Question to The Inquirer

A teenager asks about the cause of the white patches on his face, explaining that his mother is concerned it could be an early sign of skin cancer and his girlfriend isn’t happy with his discolored skin.

In The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jefferson pediatrician J. Carlton Gartner Jr., MD, explains that the best course would be to get a direct examination and consult with his physician. Dr. Gartner explains that there are a number of possible causes for the “white splotches” and it would be important “to know of any past sunburn, infection, or eczema on the face.”

“Perhaps the most common reason for white splotches is a fungal infection known as tinea versicolor,” Dr. Gartner tells the teen. “Patients with this condition often have patches of lighter or darker skin in other areas, such as the chest or back, and the problem may be more easily seen in the summer, when the patches don’t let skin tan normally. This infection is easy to treat with shampoos, creams, or oral medicines, but it can take several weeks to get better.”

Or, the pediatrician says, the condition could be vitiligo, a condition that should be treated by a dermatologist.

Regardless it is important to consult with a physician to diagnose the cause of the discoloration and initiate appropriate treatment, Dr. Gartner says.

Read the article, “White patches on the face worry teenager” online.

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