Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease characterized by white patches on skin. The skin gets its colour from a pigment called melanin. This pigment is produced in the cells called ‘melanocytes’. When melanocytes die or are unable to function, it results in the loss of melanin. This causes white spots on skin leading to vitiligo skin disease.
Vitiligo disease, also known as white patches on skin disease, can affect the skin on any part of the body. The condition can be seen in men, women and children. Vitiligo in children is more common when both parents are affected by vitiligo.
Risk Factors For Vitiligo
Vitiligo patches are caused when melanocytes are destroyed or malfunction. The exact cause for this is currently not known. However, certain factors may put you at risk for developing vitiligo disease. Let’s take a look at some of these factors:
- You have a family history of vitiligo.
- You have a family history of other autoimmune conditions, such as thyroid disorders or type 1 diabetes, to name a few.
- You have another autoimmune condition.
- You experience a trigger event, such as extreme stress, severe sunburn or skin trauma caused due to factors like contact with a chemical.
- You undergo genetic mutations.
Types of Vitiligo
The different types of vitiligo skin disease are as follows:
Generalized Vitiligo – It is the most common type of vitiligo, where macules (small, discoloured areas of skin) appear in different areas of the body.
Segmental Vitiligo – In this type of vitiligo, white patches on skin are restricted to one area or any one side of the body, such as white spots on hands or face (vitiligo on face).
Focal Vitiligo – It is a rare vitiligo disease type in which the macules remain in a small area of the body and do not spread in a particular pattern within 1 to 2 years.
Mucosal Vitiligo – In this vitiligo type, white spots on skin or white patches on skin can be seen on mucous membranes of the mouth and/or the genitals.
Trichrome Vitiligo – In this type of vitiligo, vitiligo spots on skin appear with a white or colourless centre, followed by an area of lighter pigmentation and then an area of regularly-coloured skin.
Universal Vitiligo – Also a rare vitiligo type, it causes skin discolouration in most of the skin on the entire body.
Symptoms Of Vitiligo
Based on the type of vitiligo skin disease, the symptoms of vitiligo can be as listed below:
- Loss of skin colour in patches or spots. White spots on skin usually first appear on the hands (white spots on hands), face (vitiligo on face), mouth (vitiligo on lips) and the genitals.
- Loss of colour in the tissues that line the inside of your nose and mouth (mucous membranes).
- Premature greying or whitening of the hair on your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes or beard.
Diagnosis Of Vitiligo
Our doctors can identify vitiligo disease based on the visible white patches on skin. A diagnosis is done with the help of ultra-violet rays as well. Dr Batra’s™ homeopathic clinics are also equipped with India’s first 3-D imaging device for accurate analysis and evaluation of your skin. Based on an advanced optical technology developed by scientists in Dublin, the 3-D imaging device captures the skin condition up to 10 mm below the surface of the skin. This helps to assess the problem at least 12 weeks in advance, before physical symptoms can be seen on the skin by the naked eye. This can be instrumental in preventing the skin problem and even saves on the treatment time and cost.
Impact Of Vitiligo
People who suffer from vitiligo skin disease may go through extreme emotional stress. In severe cases, it may also lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. Other than these, the following instances have been generally observed:
- Vitiligo can been a reason for non-acceptance of a matrimonial alliance.
- Developing vitiligo after marriage has been grounds for divorce.
- People who develop white patches on the genital areas usually avoid intimacy.
- Many vitiligo patients experience social rejection.
It is therefore necessary to treat vitiligo disease. The goal of vitiligo treatment is to stop or slow down the progression of de-pigmentation and attempt to return your skin to its normal colour.