Vitiligo is a skin condition in which there is a loss of brown color (pigment) from areas of skin, resulting in irregular white patches that feel like normal skin.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Vitiligo appears to occur when immune cells destroy the cells that produce brown pigment (melanocytes). This destruction is thought to be due to an autoimmune problem, but the cause is unknown.Vitiligo may appear at any age.
Flat areas of normal-feeling skin without any pigment appear suddenly or gradually. These areas have a darker border. The edges are well defined but irregular. Vitiligo most often affects the face, elbows and knees, hands and feet, and genitals. It affects both sides of the body equally. Vitiligo is more noticeable in darker-skinned people because of the contrast of white patches against dark skin.
Vitiligo is difficult to treat. Early treatment options include the following:
Phototherapy, a medical procedure in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet light. Phototherapy may be given alone, or after you take a drug that makes your skin sensitive to light.
Medicines applied to the skin, such as:
- Corticosteroid creams or ointments
- Immunosuppressant creams or ointments
- Topical drugs