What is Vitiligo? Jun 21, 2022 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team
Vitiligo is a medical condition that causes patches of skin to lose color. This occurs as a result of the loss of melanin, which is responsible for giving skin its color. While vitiligo can be associated with other medical conditions or symptoms, it is primarily a dermatological issue and should be treated by a board-certified dermatologist. There is no cure for vitiligo, but treatments are available to help improve the appearance of affected skin.
Symptoms of VitiligoThe most obvious symptom of vitiligo is the loss of color in patches of skin. These patches may be small or large, and they typically appear on the hands, face, and around body openings first. The affected skin may also be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. Other symptoms associated with vitiligo include:
- Premature graying of hair
- Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation in areas that are not vitiligo
- Few patients say it causes itchy or painful skin
Causes of VitiligoThe exact cause of vitiligo is not fully understood, but it is believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors contributes to the disease. In particular, this condition may be triggered by stress or an autoimmune disorder. There is also some evidence that exposure to UV light may play a role.
Increased Risks for...People with vitiligo have an increased risk of developing social or psychological distress. As well as sunburns, eye problems, and hearing loss.
Treatment OptionsThere is no cure for vitiligo, but there are treatments available to help improve the appearance of affected skin. These include:
- Medication: These can be applied to the skin or taken orally to help restore color.
- Light therapy: This involves exposing the skin to UV light under medical supervision.
- Surgery: Skin grafting or cellular suspension transplanting may be an option for some people.
How to Care for Your SkinIf you have vitiligo, it is important to take care of your skin to prevent further damage. This includes:
- Wearing sunscreen: This will help protect your skin from sun damage.
- Wearing protective clothing: This includes long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
- Concealing skin: There are various cosmetic products available that can help camouflage patches.
- Avoiding irritants: This includes things like harsh soaps or scratching to prevent skin irritation.
- Seeing a dermatologist: Regular visits with your dermatologist will help ensure that you receive the right treatment and care for your condition.