Header Image

Vitiligo

 

This is a skin condition resulting from loss of pigment which produces white patches.  Any part of the body may be affected.  Usually both sides of the body are affected, most commonly at face, lips, hands, arms, legs and genital areas.  The course and severity of pigment loss differ with each person.  The cause of vitiligo is not known, but doctors and researchers have several different theories. There is some evidence that people with vitiligo inherit a group genes that make them susceptible to depigmentation. The most widely accepted view is that the depigmentation occurs because vitiligo is an autoimmune disease - a disease in which a person's immune system reacts against the body's own organs or tissues. People's bodies produce antibodies that can destroy the melanocytes in the skin (these are the cells that make the pigment in your skin called melanin).  When attacked, they can no longer make pigment in normal amounts or the pigment-producing cells die. Another theory is that melanocytes destroy themselves. Finally, some people have reported that a single event, such as sunburn or emotional distress, triggered vitiligo; however, these events have not been scientifically proven as causes of vitiligo.  Although treatment is available, there is no single cure.  Current treatment options are aimed at restoring color to the hypopigmented patches of the skin.