What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin disorder that is characterised by depigmented spots, which can be distinguished from there darker surroundings. It can affect any age and any sex. It usually has a slowly progressive course but however sometimes it may have a rapidly progressive course. It can affect any part of the skin and can sometimes spread to involve all of the skin on an individual’s body.

Who gets vitiligo?

The onset of vitiligo may often be attributed to physical trauma, illness or emotional stress. Patients with vitiligo often report that factors such as severe sunburn and a severe accident may precede the appearance of vitiligo.

What causes vitiligo?

There are many theories that have been hypothesized to explain the causes of vitiligo but unfortunately, nobody knows the exact cause of the disorder. The theories include:

  • Immunity disorders
  • Skin nerve disorders
  • Skin pigment self-destruction
  • All the above theories combined

Types of vitiligo

There are two types of vitiligo:

  • Non-segmental vitiligo
  • Segmental vitiligo

In rare cases, it is possible for vitiligo to affect your whole body. This is known as complete or universal vitiligo.

Non-segmental vitiligo:

In non-segmental vitiligo the symptoms of vitiligo often appear on both sides of your body as symmetrical white patches. Symmetrical patches can appear on the:

  • Back of your hands
  • Arms
  • Eyes
  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Feet

Non-segmental vitiligo is the most common type of vitiligo as it affects up to 9 out of 10 people with the condition.

Treating vitiligo

There are many ways that have been tested to treat vitiligo but the most effective treatment is aimed at improving your skins appearance by restoring its colour. However, the effects of the treatment are not usually permanent and it cannot always control the spread of the condition.