Quick Access
Medical Article
 Author : Dr. Anupam Kaushik
Vitiligo is a condition in which skin loses melanin, the pigment that determines the color of skin, hair and eyes. 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 skin. Patient can lose pigment anywhere on body including skin, hair(scalp, eyebrow, eyelash, beard Skin.), Inside the mouth , genitals .The affected skin lightens or turn completely white. Many people do not have any other signs or symptoms; they feel healthy but a few cases have reported that the skin affected by vitiligo itches or feels painful. Living with vitiligo can cause other symptoms such as low self-esteem and depression that is hard to beat. This can happen regardless of the amount of color loss or type of vitiligo.

Vitiligo has various types and subtypes.

Segmental or unilateral vitiligo - appears on one segment of the body such as leg, face or arm. About half of people lose some hair color, such as on the head, an eyelash or an eyebrow. Often begins at an early age and progresses for a year or so ten stops.

Nonsegmental or bilateral vitiligo: It is most common type. Appears on both sides of the body, such as both hands or both knees. Often begins on hands, fingertips, wrists, around the eyes or mouth, or on the feet. It often begins with rapid loss of skin color, which then stops for a while. Color loss often starts up later. This start-and-stop cycle usually continues throughout a person's lifetime. Color loss tends to expand, growing more noticeable and covering a larger area.

The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, but research suggests that it may arise from autoimmune, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. Vitiligo causes loss of pigment (depigmentation). Although there is no significant proof or evidence, Doctors and scientists have various theories as to what causes vitiligo. 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. Some people have reported a single event, such as sunburn or emotional distress , that triggered the condition. Sometimes pigment loss can occur in someone who’s had a melanoma, a malignancy of the cells that produce melanin (melanocytes). However, none of these theories has been proved as a definite cause of vitiligo.