Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition characterized by patches of skin that lose their pigment. This loss of pigment occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color), are destroyed or stop functioning. As a result, the affected areas of the skin become lighter or completely white.
Vitiligo can affect people of all skin types, but it is more noticeable in individuals with darker skin tones. It can occur at any age, although it often appears before the age of 20. The main symptom of vitiligo is the development of white patches on the skin. These patches can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, hands, feet, arms, and other areas. In some cases, the patches may also affect mucous membranes and the retina of the eye.
Treatment options for vitiligo aim to restore pigment to the affected areas of the skin and may include:
It’s important for individuals with vitiligo to protect their skin from sun exposure, as areas of depigmented skin are more susceptible to sunburn and damage. Additionally, seeking support from healthcare professionals and support groups can be beneficial in coping with the emotional impact of vitiligo.