Vitiligo – Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Vitiligo

Your skin becomes less pigmented or loses color due to vitiligo. Your skin develops smooth, light-colored spots called macules. Usually, it begins on your face, hands, forearms, and feet. Around 1% of people worldwide suffer from vitiligo. If you’re unhappy with the way your skin tone has changed, treatment is an option but it’s not required.

Vitiligo

Skin conditions such as vitiligo cause color loss in some areas of the skin. Vitiligo affects different parts of the skin in different amounts in different people. Moreover, it may have an impact on the hair, inside of the mouth, and eyes.

Some people may always have discolored regions for the remainder of their lives. Some people might re-pigment on their own. It is a photosensitive condition. This indicates that in contrast to unaffected areas, impacted areas are more susceptible to sunlight.

It is difficult to say if and how much the patches will spread. The patches may stay constant for months or years, or the spread may take several weeks. People with darker skin tones typically have lighter spots that are more noticeable.

Symptoms

Vitiligo signs and indicators include:

  • Areas of skin or mucous membranes that have lost pigment. These may make you look whiter or more pale than you actually are.
  • Also, your body may have patches of silver, grey, or white hair.
  • The severity of the symptoms might vary, affecting a larger portion of your skin or only a tiny section of your body. Prior to the onset of depigmentation, some vitiligo sufferers feel skin itching.

Causes of Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a condition when your skin lacks melanin, a pigment. One does not know why this occurs. According to research, this may originate from:

An Inflammatory Disease

Your immune system confuses healthy cells, or melanocytes, with foreign invaders, such as germs. This constitutes a threat to your health. Your immune system overreacts as a result, producing antibodies that kill your melanocytes.

Genetic Alterations

Your body’s DNA can alter or a genetic mutation can alter how your melanocytes work. There are more than 30 genes that might make you more susceptible to vitiligo.

Stress

If you often subject your body to physical or mental stress, particularly following an accident, your melanocyte cells’ ability to create pigment may be affected.

Environmental Reactions

Your melanocyte cells’ ability to operate can be impacted by things like exposure to harmful chemicals and UV light.

Treatment

Medications

A particular prescription cannot reverse the effects of vitiligo on the skin. However, several medications can assist in melanocyte rebuilding. Also, they slow down the rate at which pigmentation is lost or restore color to the skin.

Light Therapy

Treatments to help your skin regain its color include light therapy and phototherapy. For a brief period of time, your doctor may use light boxes, ultraviolet B (UVB) lamps, or medical-grade lasers on your skin.

To notice improvements in your skin, many light treatment sessions may be necessary. Those with vitiligo on their head, neck, torso, upper arms, and legs might benefit from this therapy.

Depigmentation Therapy

The goal of depigmentation therapy is to match the color of the vitiligo-affected portions of your skin to your normal skin tone. Monobenzone is a medication used in depigmentation treatment.

This medicine is for use on skin that has pigmentation in some areas. Thus, this will cause the parts of your skin that have vitiligo to become white.

Surgery

An option for therapy for those with vitiligo is surgery. Surgical interventions may involve blister grafting and skin grafting. It’s possible that your doctor will not advise surgery if you:

  • Have vitiligo that’s spreading swiftly.
  • Scar readily.
  • Form keloids, which are elevated scars that grow beyond a wound.

Outlook

The disease vitiligo results in skin alterations that are mainly cosmetic. It is not harmful, thus treatment is not necessary. However, vitiligo skin changes frequently cause people to feel uncomfortable or uneasy, which can lower their self-esteem. Thus, speak with your healthcare practitioner about the relationship between your mental and physical well-being. Although there is no cure for vitiligo, there are treatments that can make you feel better.