What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes the skin to lose its color. Smooth white areas appear on a person’s skin. If you have vitiligo in a place that has hair, the hair on your body may also turn white. The condition occurs when melanocytes (the skin cells that produce melanin, the chemical that gives skin its color, or pigmentation) are destroyed by the body’s immune system.
What are the types of vitiligo?
- Mucosal, which affects mucous membranes of the mouth and/or the genitals.
- Focal, which is a rare type in which the macules are in a small area and do not spread in a certain pattern within one to two years.
- Trichome, which means that there is a white or colorless center, then an area of lighter pigmentation, and then an area of normally colored skin.
- Universal, another rare type of vitiligo, and one in which more than 80% of the skin of the body lacks pigment.
- Autoimmune disorder: The affected person’s immune system may develop antibodies that destroy melanocytes.
- Genetic factors: Certain factors that may increase the chance of getting vitiligo can be inherited. About 30% of vitiligo cases run in families.
- Neurogenic factors: A substance that is toxic to melanocytes may be released at nerve endings in the skin.
- Self-destruction: A defect in the melanocytes causes them to destroy themselves.
Symptoms of Vitiligo
- kin, which develops milky-white patches, usually on the hands, feet, arms, and face. However, the patches can appear anywhere.
- Hair, which can turn white in areas where the skin is losing pigment. This can happen on the scalp, eyebrow, eyelash, and beard.
- Mucous membranes, such as the inside of your mouth or nose.