Diseases & Conditions



What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo can be termed as a pigmentation disorder in which there is a destruction of skin melanocytes. Because of this, there is going to be white patches on the skin in various body parts. Same kind of patches is also going to be there on mucous membranes and the retina.

Causes of Vitiligo

At this moment of time, no one can say with full confidence what is the main reason responsible for vitiligo. According to some researchers, individuals suffering from vitiligo inherit a group of three genes that give rise to depigmentation. In medical parlance, vitiligo is widely been regarded as an autoimmune disease. There are few experts who are of the opinion that melanocytes destroy themselves. Emotional distress can trigger vitiligo.

Who is more prone to vitiligo?

Vitiligo has an impact on both men and women and all races equally. However, if your skin is dark, you are more prone to developing this condition. Vitiligo is quite common in individuals who are suffering from autoimmune diseases such as hyperthyroidism, anemia and alopecia areata. It can also be hereditary.

Diagnosis of Vitiligo

When it comes to vitiligo diagnosis, your health care provider will conduct physical examination and laboratory tests on you. If your physical examination reveals that there are white skin patches on your hand, arm, or a lip, your health care provider will tell you clearly that you are suffering from vitiligo. Your health care provider will also take into consideration your medical record. In order to confirm the diagnosis, your health care provider may opt for a small sample of the affected skin to analyze it in a proper way. If you are suffering from vitiligo, your skin sample is going to depict a full absence of pigment-producing melanocytes.

Prevention of Vitiligo

In order to prevent vitiligo, it is quite important that you take B-complex multivitamin, Folic Acid, Vitamin E and Vitamin D. To improve your skin color, ascorbic acid can be quite effective. Stay away from synthetic clothes and steroids. Do not use any tropical medication that is not prescribed by your health care provider.

Symptoms of Vitiligo

Some of the common symptoms of vitiligo are mentioned below:

  • White patches on your skin
  • It appears in three patterns, namely, focal pattern, segmental pattern and generalized pattern.
  • Premature graying of the beard and eyebrows

Medical therapies for Vitiligo

Topical steroid therapy: Steroid creams can turn out to be quite useful when it comes to repigmenting white patches. To get more out of these creams, it is quite essential that you use it in the initial phase. Health care providers quite a number of times prescribe a mild topical corticosteroid cream especially for kids. You need to apply steroid cream for a period of two to three months on the skin white patches. As you start seeing improvement, contact your health care provider.

Psoralen photochemotherapy: Widely been regarded as psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy, this is the most effective vitiligo treatment that you can opt for. Only drawback of this therapy is that it takes plenty of time and you need to be very careful with regard to side effects, as it can be pretty complicated. Talking about psoralen, it is a drug that includes chemicals which plays a pivotal role in reacting with ultraviolet light to cause skin darkening. You need to take psoralen orally. Some of the side effects associated with this therapy are severe blistering and sunburn. There is also a possibility that your treated patches become too dark. However, this will go away with the passage of time.

Treatment for Vitiligo

The main objective of vitiligo treatment is to ensure that there is significant improvement in your appearance. However, keep in mind that vitiligo therapy takes quite a bit of time, normally in the range of 5 to 15 months. The therapy choice is dependent entirely on the number of white patches that you have, their location, sizes, and in how many areas they are making it presence felt. If you are not comfortable with any treatment, it is better that you look out for other options. Each individual reacts differently to a therapy and therefore there is not much of a surprise that a particular treatment may work for one but may not be ideally suited for another individual.