Vitiligo – Not a Simple White Patch

Are you noticing a white patch on your body? Then you need to give some extra attention to it, as it must not be a simple white patch but Vitiligo.

Vitiligo is a chronic condition in which growing skin patches lose color. It can strike people of any age, gender, or ethnicity.

When melanocytes in the skin die, the skin starts showing patches. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, the skin pigment that gives skin its color and protects it from UV rays.

It appears to affect between 0.5 and 2 percent of people worldwide.

What exactly is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin condition in which colorless patches of skin appear.

The overall amount of skin that can be affected by vitiligo varies from person to person. It can also cause problems with the eyes, the inside of the mouth, and the hair.

The affected areas are usually discolored for the rest of the person’s life.

The disease is photosensitive, meaning that affected areas will be more sensitive to sunlight than unaffected areas.

It’s difficult to predict whether and how far the patches will spread. It may take weeks for the patches to apply, or they may remain stable for months or years.

People with dark or tanned skin tend to have more visible lighter patches.

What are the symptoms and signs of Vitiligo? 

● The impression of flat white spots or patches on the skin is the most common symptom of Vitiligo. At first, a simple spot appears pale compared to the rest of the skin. With the passage of time, however, the spot gradually turns white.

● The patches are irregular in shape and frequently edgy. Itching and inflammation may occur, resulting in slight redness on the edges of the patches.

● Sun-exposed body parts, such as the hands, feet, arms, face, and lips, are the most vulnerable.

● Other symptoms of Vitiligo include premature greying of scalp hair, brows, eyelashes, and beard.


However, depending on the type of Vitiligo, the specific areas affected may vary. The following are the types of Vitiligo that exist:

Universal Vitiligo – Vitiligo affects everyone. This type of Vitiligo affects the majority of the skin’s surfaces.

Segmental Vitiligo – White patches are visible on one side of the body and frequently continue for a year or so before ceasing. It also advances more slowly than generalized Vitiligo.

Generalized vitiligo – On both sides of the body, large white patches appear symmetrically. This is the most common pattern, and pigment cells can be affected anywhere on the body. It frequently starts and stops many times during a person’s lifetime.
Vitiligo on the face.
Focal Vitiligo – Patches are typically smaller and appear in only a few body areas.
Acrofacial Vitiligo – This type of Vitiligo primarily affects the face, hands, and occasionally the feet.

What factors increase your chances of developing vitiligo?

It is unknown what causes vitiligo. The disorder does not appear to be inherited, and many people who have it do not have a family history of it. However, having a family history of vitiligo or other autoimmune conditions may increase your risk.
Because your body attacks your own cells, most researchers believe vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder. According to a study, approximately 20% of people with vitiligo also have one other autoimmune disorder.

Many autoimmune diseases have been linked to vitiligo, including:

– Thyroiditis is caused by an underactive thyroid,
– lupus,
– psoriasis,
– alopecia areata (baldness),
– type 1 diabetes, and
– pernicious anemia (inability to absorb vitamin B12).
– Addison’s syndrome
– Scleroderma, a disorder of the body’s connective tissue, is rheumatoid arthritis.

According to some experts, vitiligo can appear as a result of:

– sunburns or cuts that are severe
– Toxin and chemical exposure
– high levels of anxiety

How Is Vitiligo Diagnosed? 

Vitiligo is diagnosed by a dermatologist based on the following criteria:
Medical History: This includes noting pertinent information on Vitiligo or any other autoimmune disease in the family, recent incidents of skin trauma, stress, physical illness, and premature greying of hair.
Physical examination: A physical examination of the affected skin is required. A biopsy of the afflicted skin may also be performed by the doctor. The biopsy will reveal the actual state of the melanocytes as well as the presence of any other inflamed cells.
Laboratory examination: Blood tests show the blood cell count, thyroid function, and presence of auto-antibodies.
Treatment Options Available for Disorder Management
Vitiligo is much more than a ‘cosmetic issue.’ It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.
A variety of treatments can help to reduce the condition’s visibility.
To help conceal or restore lost skin color, several treatment options are available:
– Phototherapy with UVA/UVB Light: UVA/UVB light phototherapy involves exposing the skin to UVA/UVB light. This treatment aims to re-pigment the white patches. To see visible results, the patient should have bi-weekly sessions of this treatment in a specialized clinic for 6-12 months.
– Topical Steroid Therapy: This treatment involves applying steroid ointments and creams to the affected areas.
– Depigmentation: In this treatment, the unaffected area is depigmented, resulting in the complete removal of pigment from the skin. The end result is completely white skin with a balanced skin tone throughout the body.
– Cosmetic Cures: For mild cases of Vitiligo, camouflaging the affected skin with cosmetics is the safest treatment option. The patient should wear cosmetics that complement their skin tone and features.
– Surgery: Surgery is used as a last resort after all other treatment options have been exhausted. In most cases, skin grafting is used to cover the white patch with another healthy patch of pigmented skin.
All treatment options may have side effects; therefore, before beginning treatment, seek expert advice from a Dermatologist.

Does it carry any complications? 

Vitiligo does not progress to other diseases, but people who have it are more likely to experience: sunburn, hearing loss, vision changes, and tear production
Vitiligo patients are more likely to have other autoimmune disorders such as thyroid issues, Addison’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, or pernicious anemia.
Most vitiligo patients do not have these conditions, but tests may be performed to rule them out. Although Vitiligo is not contagious, a child may inherit the disorder from their parents.

Vitiligo does have psychological consequences.

Some research states that vitiligo can have a significant psychological impact. According to studies, a lot of people with vitiligo reported adverse effects on their relationships. Because of the unpredictability of their condition, some people reported thinking about it all day.

They also stated:

● staying away from physical activities
● withdrawing from social situations because they believe their condition is a disfigurement
● depression, anxiety, and emotional strain
If you have vitiligo and are undergoing any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor or someone who cares about you. It’s also critical to learn everything you can about the disorder, which can help relieve any anxiety you may feel about your condition or treatment options.

What are the precautions?

Because Vitiligo is photosensitive, the patient should avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, as ultraviolet rays from the sun may aggravate the skin condition.

When to See a Doctor?

Consult your doctor right away if you suffer any of the symptoms listed above.
Although there is no cure for vitiligo, early treatment can help slow discoloration and restore pigmentation to any affected areas of the skin.
Because vitiligo is frequently associated with other conditions, treatment can also aid in identifying and treating any underlying health issues.
Get the treatment from an experienced dermatologist at Sakhiya Skin Clinic. For a consultation, call on the toll-free number 1800-1200-70000.