Vitiligo is a skin condition in which white patches develop on the skin. The white patches can happen anywhere on the body and people with vitiligo have white patches on many areas of the body.
Vitiligo is caused by the loss of skin pigment due to melanocytes, which are cells that destruct pigment formation. The exact cause for the destruction of the skin pigments are unknown; however, one explanation traces back to the body’s immune system. Vitiligo is less noticeable on fair skinned people.
Only 2% of the population is affected by this rare skin condition, which is approximately 2 million Americans. Vitiligo develops in early childhood and adulthood, from ages 10 to 30. It is equally likely to happen to men and women. Other risk factors include: family history of premature graying in hair and autoimmune diseases.
- Rapid pigment loss on several areas of the skin
- Most commonly on areas exposed to the sun, body folds, previous injury sites, and body openings.
- Can also affect eyes and hair
Although there is no known cure or prevention of this condition, treatments for vitiligo do exist. Depending on your dermatologist’s discretion, several methods including cosmetics, re-pigmentation, corticosteroid creams, skin grafting, can be used to improve the skin’s appearance. For more information, please talk to a dermatologist.