Vitiligo: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is the condition in which growing patches of skin lose their pigmentation. It has the power to affect people of any age, gender, or ethnic group. These patches are formed due to the death of the melanocytes of the skin. These are the sole cells responsible for producing melanin, which gives skin its color and protects it from the sun’s UV rays. About 0.5% to 2.5% of the total world population has been affected by disease. It depends from patient to patient as to how much surface area of skin is affected. It also affects the eyes, the inside of the mouth, and the hair. The affected areas remain discolored for the rest of the person’s life, in many cases. The patient becomes photosensitive. This means that the areas of skin that are affected will be more sensitive to sunlight.

The children are more prone to vitiligo as they are exposed to the sun at all times.


  • Use sunscreen- The lighter patches of skin (affected parts) are sensitive to sunlight and can burn easily.

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  • Phototherapy with UVB light- If there are white spots across large areas of the body, UVB phototherapy may be used. This involves treatment of the entire body. It is to be done in a hospital.
  • Phototherapy with UVA light- First, the patient takes a drug that increases the skin’s sensitivity to UV light. Then, in subsequent sittings, the affected skin is exposed to high amount of UV radiation.
  • Skin camouflage- In patients, having mild to moderate vitiligo, make up can be used to hide skin patches.
  • Skin grafts- In a skin graft, a surgeon carefully removes healthy patches of skin from the patient and uses them to cover the affected, depigmented areas.


  • an autoimmune disorder– This is the case in which the immune system become overactive which leads to the negative effect of death of melanocytes.
  • a genetic oxidative stress imbalance is a causative of vitiligo
  • exposure to some chemicals
  • a stressful event
  • harm to the skin due to a critical sunburn or cut may lead to vitiligo
  • Vitiligo can be due to hereditary effect as it is quite common that the genes transmit the said disease.


The early symptoms include appearance of flat white spots which become evident on the skin. The progression occurs from areas exposed to sun to areas minimally exposed to sun.

The patches are irregular in shape. The patches may develop itchy rashes on the edges of the patch.

How is Leucoderma different from Vitiligo?

There are five main reasons as to why leukoderma is different from vitiligo.

1. In case of vitiligo, the depigmentation is gradual while in leucoderma it happens all of a sudden.

2. Leucoderma strictly appears post-physical trauma. The accidental cuts and exposure to chemicals are the main causative agents. Vitiligo is caused due to autoimmune conditions.

3. Vitiligo is common in areas involving extensive exposure to sun while leukoderma does not follow such pattern

4. Appearance of patches through vitiligo is treatable through medication while the leucoderma patients are advised to go or depigmentation.
The characteristic white patches on the skin are closely bounded on the skin compared to vitiligo.


Tags: Vitiligo Causes, Is Vitiligo Hereditary, Vitiligo Treatment At Home, How To Identify Vitiligo

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.