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A skin condition - any advice?

(10 Posts)
Mellowfruitfulness Tue 19-Jul-11 22:25:12

I've just noticed that my son (age 16) has what looks like an irregular tide mark of slightly darker skin that goes across his upper torso on the front. He also has a patch of paler skin across his shoulders at the back - it looks a bit like wings.

Does anyone have any idea what this is? He is very resistant to the idea of going to the doctor, so I would be grateful for any advice. I was wondering if it could be something fungal. He plays a lot of football (and wears sticky nylony football tops) but is very clean - showers once or twice a day.

Mellowfruitfulness Wed 20-Jul-11 16:19:54

Anyone? I have googled NHS etc but none of their questions apply to my son, and they say not to email them for a diagnosis - they can only help with a named condition. We don't want to bother the doctor with something so minor, but are curious to know what it might be.

ThePetiteMummy Wed 20-Jul-11 16:37:06

Sounds like it could be vitiligo, a condition that affects the production of pigment in the skin, producing lighter patches. It's more obvious on black skin, but can affect any skin colour. It's harmless, and there is no treatment for it, and sometimes patches can spontaneously return to normal colour, then new ones appear.

I'm afraid I don't know any more than that, but I would suggest you encourage your son to get it looked at, just to be on the safe side.

Mellowfruitfulness Wed 20-Jul-11 22:25:10

Thank you very much, ThePetiteMummy. I have googled vitiligo, and although mu son's skin doesn't look quite like the pictures, I am going to keep a close watch. He also has sore eyes, so I shall monitor that too. Many thanks for your help.

Beamur Wed 20-Jul-11 22:27:53

I think you should try and persuade him to the docs - from what you say I would suspect fungal too. Whilst it can just affect skin, fungal infections can be more systemic (I think thats the right word) and very hard to shift. It could also be infectious and passed to others in the house.

ThePetiteMummy Wed 20-Jul-11 23:13:51

You're welcome Mellow, hope you get a diagnosis soon.

Mellowfruitfulness Thu 21-Jul-11 08:01:09

Thanks, Beamur.

Fibreoptic Fri 22-Jul-11 18:24:12

You mentioned sportswear?.The problem could lie in that the nylon.-note comments below. Its an extract sent to me by the guys at have a seemingly limitless source of ideas.

Fabrics, such as wool. Simply that a fabric is "natural" does not necessarily mean it is "safe" for people with skin allergies. Wool is one example of a natural fabric that can cause intense irritation to atopic eczema sufferers. The reason for this appears to be the irritating effect of the wool fibres. Many of us, whether we have allergies or not, are familiar with the itchy feeling a woollen garment often when worn next to the skin, an effect likely to be worse in people who already have sensitive skin,atopic eczema,psoriasis or dermatitis.
Some synthetics. Individuals can different greatly in their tolerance of synthetics and natural/synthetic mixtures. Some,for example, find that the type of dye used with polyester fibres irritate their skin, while polycotton and cotton products labelled "easy-care", "crease-resistant", or "non-iron" have been treated with formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause a skin irritation.
Hope this helps

Beamur Fri 22-Jul-11 19:41:23

It reminds me of something a friend of mine had, and had overlooked for years, she had various non specific illnesses, tiredness, was easily run down etc, and she was finally diagnosed with a sort of systemic fungal infection - it took a fair bit of treating and she had to wash all her clothes and bedding quite hot & with tea tree oil to get rid of all the spores.

Mellowfruitfulness Sun 24-Jul-11 15:58:50

Thanks Fibreoptic and Beamur - lots to think about. The patch on his shoulders is a bit like the shape of the back yolk of a shirt. He'll be getting a new kit soon, as he has joined a different team, so I wonder if the whiter patch will go.

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