Vitiligo is a condition in which areas of skin lose their normal pigment and so become white. It is common, and affects about 1% of the world’s population.
What Causes Vitiligo?
The pigment that gives your skin its normal colour is melanin: cells known as melanocytes make it. The cause of vitiligo is not yet fully known but it is believed to be cause by antibodies attacking its own melanocytes. As a result, the skin cannot make its own melanin properly, and vitiligo is the result.
The white patches are more common where your skin is exposed to the sun. In some cases, the patches spread. Vitiligo can cause your hair to gray early. If you have dark skin, you may lose color inside your mouth.
Using sunscreen will help protect your skin, and cosmetics can cover up the patches. Treatments for vitiligo include medicines, light therapy, and surgery (skin grafts). There is no single effective treatment; combination therapy may be needed in some cases. It is necessary to have maintenance follow up treatment.