Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or no longer form melanin causing slowly enlarging white patches of irregular shapes to appear on your skin.
- Vitiligo occurs when melanin — the dark pigment in the epidermis that gives your skin its normal color — is destroyed or not produced
- The involved patch of skin then becomes white
- It may be due to an immune system disorder
- Heredity may be a factor because there's an increased incidence of vitiligo in some families
Signs & Symptoms
The main sign of vitiligo is pigment loss that produces milky-white patches (depigmentation) on your skin.
Other less common signs may include
- Premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard
- Loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of your mouth (mucous membranes
- Loss or change in color of the inner layer of your eye (retina)
Important factors in your medical history include:
- A family history of vitiligo
- A rash, sunburn or other skin trauma at the site of vitiligo within two to three months of the start of pigment loss
- Premature graying of the hair (before age 35)
- Stress or physical illness
Self-care steps, such as using sunscreen and applying cosmetic camouflage cream, may improve the appearance of your skin
For fair-skinned individuals, avoiding tanning can make the areas almost unnoticeable
Depending on the type of therapy, treatment for vitiligo may take from six to 18 months
Medical treatment choices are based on the number of white patches and how widespread they are
People with or without the condition should always use sunscreen lotions or sun blocks with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more to protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV rays.