Vitiligo: White patches on your skin, causes and treatment

By ChemistsWorld On 20 Sep 2018

Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes white patches to form on the skin as the cells that usually produce a pigment called melanocytes are destroyed.

The actual cause of vitiligo is still not known, but most experts believe it is likely to be an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys cell within the body. In vitiligo, the auto-immune system of melanin-forming cells die or stop producing melanin- the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes color. The involved skin patches become lighter or white.

When does vitiligo occur?

Around half of those with vitiligo begin to see the condition develop before age of 20. Most will have seen it before the age of 20. However, it can be developed at any age and many people have it this as children. People with any color can have vitiligo, but it is more noticeable in people with dark skin.

Will the white patches of vitiligo spread?

There is no chance to find out if somebody’s vitiligo will spread. It may remain the same or there is a chance that it may spread to other parts of the body. The usual affected areas are the face particularly around the mouth, eyes, hands & wrists, armpits, genitals and inside the mouth. Your scalp portion can also be susceptible to the vitiligo.

What is the treatment available for the vitiligo?

It is difficult to cure vitiligo altogether, however, some can lessen the white patches or camouflage them. In adults, it can be treated with corticosteroid creams, which sometimes stop the spread of white patches and can restore some of the original colors.

PUVA light therapy in combination with the medication psolaren can be used as a treatment to stop patients from developing new vitiligo macules. Sometimes, this treatment can also cause side-effects like nausea, sunburn, hyperpigmentation, and dryness.

For those who don’t wish to undergo formal treatments, they can improve the appearance of the affected skin with cosmetics that will help to hide visible signs of the condition.

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