Vitiligo: Things you need to know

Vitiligo is referred as a disorder that causes depigmentation in certain sections of skin. In simple terms, formation of irregular white patches on your skin is vitiligo. It occurs when melanocytes i.e. the cells that cause skin pigmentation either die or start to defunction. There is as such no specific cause of vitiligo, but research states that it may be an outcome of genetic, autoimmune, neural, oxidative stress or viral causes.

  There is as such no age bar for occurrence of vitiligo, it can affect any individual at any age. You can observe a high rate of the condition in certain families. Research states that it affects around 1 out of every 100 people in theUnited States.   Symptoms of vitiligo:  

  • You might notice flat areas of your normal-feeling skin suddenly or gradually losing its pigment. These areas have a darker edges, which are well defined but uneven.


  • Vitiligo very often affects the face, elbows and also knees, hands and feet. It may impact both sides of the body uniformly.


  • This skin disorder is very noticeable in people with dark-skin due to the contrasting effect of white patches against dark skin.

  Treatments:   Once you notice the given symptoms, pay visit to your doctor and get it examined. Certain cases may require a skin biopsy to rule out the causes of additional pigment loss. Treating Vitiligo is difficult but early treatments may show considerable improvements in most cases.   Additional treatments include:  

  • Phototherapy is a medical procedure that exposes skin cautiously to ultraviolet light. A dermetalogist might perform this procedure after giving you a drug that will make your skin sensitive to light.


  • Application of medicines, such as Corticosteroid creams or ointments, Immunosuppressant creams or ointments, including pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic) along with topical drugs, such as methoxsalen (Oxsoralen).


  • In some cases normally pigmented skin might be grafted onto the non pigmented areas.


  • Some extreme cases, when most of the body gets depigmented, dermatologists recommend depigmenting the left out pigmented skin as a last resort.

    Vitiligo is a condition that can occur to anyone at any point of time without stating any reasons for the occurrence. But, remember that the depigmented skin has a greater risk for sun damage. So, ensure that you use high-SPF sunscreen or sunblock while moving out in sun to protect your skin.

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