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Vitiligo is a disease that causes patches of skin to lose their colour, resulting in white spots. In someinstances, most of the skin becomes white. This disorder itself is rare, affecting only about 0.5% to 1% of the world’s population. Vitiligois neither fatal nor life-threatening disease; there is a social stigma that results in lowered self-esteem among those with the skin condition. People with vitiligo face colour loss in various areas of exposed skin. Some might experience the discoloration in the mouth, in the hair on the scalp, or in their eyelashes or eyebrows.


If the above therapies are not effective, then surgery can be chosen. The surgical procedures include:

  • Skin grafting is the surgical removal of the tiny portions of the normal skin which is attached to the affected skin. This is often chosen when there are small patches of vitiligo.
  • Blister grafting involves the creation of blisters by suction which is transplanted into the affected area.
  • Tattooing or micro pigmentation technique involves the use of a special device to insert pigment in the skin. This method is effective if depigmentation has occurred around the lips for people with dark skin tone.

Patches may reappear even after the treatment at times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Vitiligo is the of the skin’s melanocytes being destroyed. Melanocytes are cells inside the skin that produce melanin, which is responsible for producing the skin its colour. When pigment-making cells in the skin are destroyed, people will develop white splotches.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, and what determines whether or not a person develops thecondition is a combination of genetic and other factors. "People who have skin problem may also haveother immune disorders like psoriasis, alopecia areata, and thyroid disease.

There are two main types of vitiligo:

1. Nonsegmental vitiligo is the more common type. Patients with nonsegmental vitiligo experience white patches on either sides of the body.

2. Segmental vitiligo, on the other hand, occurs mainly in one area (or segment) of the body. About 10% of vitiligo cases are segmental vitiligo.

  • Hair turning gray or white prematurely
  • Eyelashes and eyebrows losing colour and turning white
  • Change of colour in the retina .
  • Colour loss in the nose and mouth
  • in the armpit
  • Around the belly button.

Vitiligo does not cause harm to the body. Treatments that vary in effectiveness are usuallydesigned to revivecolour to the affected patches of skin. Below are few therapies dermatologistsmay use to treat patients with vitiligo:

Light therapy:

Also called phototherapy, depigmented areas of skin which are exposed to special wavelengths of light, usually narrow band ultraviolet B, which helps repigment the skin.Treatment will be two to three times weekly for till a year might be necessary before significant, though often incomplete, repigmentation occurs.

Topical therapy:

Topical steroids and topical calcineurin inhibitors are at times effective to restore pigment when small areas of skin are affected. However, using topical steroids, there is risk that the skin will atrophy or sag, thin or develops stretch marks when used for too long.

Depigmentation :

If vitiligo has spread majorly, and if other treatments are not effective then you can go for depigmentation which is permanent and the person will be highly sensitive to sunlight.

Ointments containing tacrolimus or pimecrolimus (calcineurin inhibitors) might be effective for people with small areas of depigmentation, especially on the face and neck.

This treatment will have fewer side effects than corticosteroids and can be used with ultraviolet B (UVB) light. However, the Food and Drug Administration has warned about a possible link between these medicines and lymphoma and skin cancer.

If your doctor suspects you have vitiligo, he will ask about your medical history, examine you and try to rule out other medical problems, such as dermatitis or psoriasis. Doctor may use a special lamp to shine ultraviolet light onto the skin to determine whether you have vitiligo

Added your personal and family medical history and examining your skin, your doctor may:

  • Take a tiny sample (biopsy) of the affected skin.
  • Send blood for lab tests to look for underlying autoimmune conditions, such as anemia or diabetes

There is no drug to stop the process of vitiligo — the loss of pigment cells (melanocytes). But some medicine, used alone or with light therapy, can help restore some skin tone.

Applying a corticosteroid cream to affected skin may help return colour, particularly if you start using it early in the disease. You may not see a change in your skin's colour for several months.

This type of cream is effective. But it can cause some side effects, such as skin thinning or the appearance of streaks or lines on your skin.

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