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White Spots From Tanning

Reshma Jirage
There may be development of white spots during the tanning process. There are a number of reasons for developing white spots. Here is some useful information.
Tanning is mainly caused due to an overexposure to the sun. Many people opt for a personal tanning for numerous reasons such as dealing with various skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or even to prepare themselves to spend the vacation on a sunny beach.
During the tanning process, you must adopt some preventive measures and precautions in order to avoid an abuse of tanning bed or overexposure. There may be a development of skin pigmentation or white spots from tanning because of overexposure to UV rays of the sun.


There are several causes for this condition such as overexposure to the UV rays, medications, skin fungus and pressure points.

Skin Pigmentation:

  • In some people, white spots appear after a prolonged exposure to UV rays, either from the tanning beds or the sun. There may be a genetic trait in the skin cells, due to which these cells don't produce melanin in some areas of skin. They are unaffected by the tanning process, which results in a development of white spots.
  • White spots may result from excessive sun exposure at an early age. In such cases, skin's ability to produce melanin consistently is damaged. This condition is known as idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. In such cases, if you try more tanning, white spots may become prominent due to a darker skin around them. There is no cure for such types of white spots.


  • White spots develop due to certain medications making the skin very sensitive and vulnerable to UV rays. Birth control pills, antibiotics like tetracycline, tan the skin unevenly causing white spots. This side effect is referred to as skin photosensitivity. If you tend to expose to sunrays often, inform your doctor about it, when he/she prescribes any drug.

Skin Fungus:

  • Fungal infections of skin cause white spots. These infections prevent UV rays from tanning the skin, leading to pigmentation in irregular patterns resulting in white blotches.
It occurs due to a non-contagious fungus, caused by sweating and exposure to persistent heat. This can be cured with over-the-counter ointments, creams/pills or antifungal medications.

Pressure Points:

  • It is a common and less harmful cause of white spots. There are certain points on the skin directly pressed against the tanning bed. Blood flow to these points is reduced, especially in the areas of hipbones, shoulder blades or elbows where they tend to develop white spots that can be avoided by change in positions and frequent moving in the bed.
Always remember, when you notice white spots due to tanning, consult your doctor immediately for the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.