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Understanding Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis – Disease or not


Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) is a condition where small, white, benign patches appear on the skin.

IGH is more commonly seen in women than men earlier on in life.(1)

- Mostly found in fair-skinned individuals on sun-exposed areas of the body such as arms and legs.
- Can also appear on face, neck, and shoulders
- The white spots are about 1–10 mm in diameter
- May be smooth or scaly
- IGH is not vitiligo

IGH is a benign leukoderma characterized by multiple, hypo-, or depigmented discrete macules. IGH is an effect of sun exposure and is mostly found in older people rather than the young. It is a function of the melanocytes and is not a disease or symptom of any internal condition. It is also not known to be result of trauma, viral infection, and is not contagious.

An estimated 80% of people over the age of 70 years have IGH. Patients aged around 40 also show presence of IGH. IGH can be present in young adults of age 20-30 as well.


White spots/lesions on the skin sized 1–10 mm discernible to the naked eye.


Wearing sunscreen or sunblock, avoiding tanning beds, avoiding exposure to sunlight and UV lights, etc.

No known and proven treatment for IGH exists. Treatment is usually not required. Any medicine prescribed can only help hide the marks and not cure it. For cosmetic purposes alone, cryotherapy, superficial abrasion, topical steroids, topical retinoids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, pimecrolimus, dermabrasion, topical 88% phenol, fractional carbon dioxide lasers, etc. may be done.

Consult a dermatologist before signing up for any treatment. You can find highly qualified specialists and physicians on mfine to help you with any queries about your condition.

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