Vitiligo : Causes, symptoms and treatments


Vitiligo is a bodily disorder in which white patches of skin develop in different parts of the body. This occurs due to the destruction of pigment producing cells or melanocytes in the skin. Vitiligo can also affect the mucous membranes inside the nose, mouth, and eyes.


The exact reasons for the occurrence of vitiligo are not known. Since it happens when the immune system attacks parts of your own body, it could be an inherited autoimmune disease. Although it can occur at any age, most people develop them at the age of twenties. Vitiligo is more easily noticeable in people with dark colored skin. The following factors have a high correlation with vitiligo

  • Overactive immune system, leading to the destruction of melanocytes
  • Genetic oxidative stress imbalance
  • Stress
  • Cuts and critical sunburns
  • Exposure to certain harsh chemicals
  • Neural conditions
  • Viral attacks
  • Occurrence of the disorder in the family bloodline

Other than that, vitiligo is non-transmittable and does not spread through contact. This disorder does not discriminate anyone and people of all ages and gender can develop the skin condition. The intensity may, however, vary in different people.


The appearance of white patches on the skin is the most common symptom of vitiligo. These patches usually occur over the areas that remain exposed to the sun for a long period of time such as hands, feet, face, lips, and arms. The white patches could also appear in areas such as the armpits and grins, around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, and navel, rectal and genital areas.

People affected by vitiligo get gray hair early on in their lives and those with dark skin may also experience a loss of pigmentation inside the mouth.


The complications associated with vitiligo include

  • Premature graying of hair
  • Loss of color in the mucous membranes
  • Change if color in the retina
  • Increased photosensitivity resulting in sunburns
  • Increased risk of skin cancer
  • Hearing loss
  • Development of psychological and social issues
  • Itchiness, especially during the treatment


There are many treatments to keep the vitiligo from spreading or to help restore and even out the skin tone. However, the results are not very predictable and may vary considerably from person to person. Before taking up any form of treatment options, it is best to see if the condition can be improved through the use of self-tanning products. This is possible and convenient, it is entirely upon the person to decide whether or not to go for any additional treatments.

Medical treatments would include drugs, surgery and various therapies. These treatment sessions usually take several months to be fully effective. For greater effectiveness, it is also highly advisable that you take up several approaches or a combination of the ions that could be most effective for you. Sometimes, the treatment only lasts for a while after which the patches regain their light color. The treatment also does not prevent new patches from appearing elsewhere. Therefore, you may have to frequently opt for the therapies that work best for you.

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