Vitiligo

Vitiligo

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin pigmentation disorder, which affects one in every hundred people throughout the world. There are several theories which try to shed some light on the causes of Vitiligo, including the possibility of a genetic link. The most accepted view explains that de-pigmentation occurs due to Vitiligo being an auto-immune disease. Vitiligo can affect all people regardless of gender, age and race. However vitiligo is more visibly noticeable on sufferers with a darker complexion.

What causes Vitiligo?

Vitiligo occurs when the melanocytes (the skin cells that produce pigment) within the skin are distorted, resulting in the appearance of white patches on various areas of the body. Such patches can also appear on the tissues which line the inner area of the eye ball, nose and mouth. In some cases, hair which grows on the area where a Vitiligo patch has appeared can also turn white.

Vitiligo commonly occurs in one of three patterns:

  • Focal pattern - In this instance de-pigmenting is only apparent in one or a few plac
  • Segmental pattern - De-pigmenting patched occur only on one side of the body
  • Generalized pattern- This is the most common form of de-pigmentation, where by it occurs symmetrically on both side of the body.

Focal and segmental patterns of Vitiligo are known to remain localised on a part of the body; however generalised Vitiligo is more unpredictable. Vitiligo is usually a progressive disorder, which means a patch of de-pigmentation could grow or spread further around the body. For some individuals, the growth of Vitiligo can be slow and for others it may be extremely fast.

Treatments for Vitiligo

In a modern society where appearances can be everything, Vitiligo although not painful can be emotionally and physiologically distressing and difficult to deal with. Depending on the individual patient, there are a number of treatments available which the specialist will help you choose from.

  • Laser Treatment
  • Topical steroid therapy
  • Light therapy

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