Vitiligo is a skin pigment disorder that is caused by the destruction of melanocytes (cells that produce melanin). This results in the development of white macules in different parts of the body.
Vitiligo does not make any discrimination. It occurs with approximately the same incidence, in people of any skin color and race. 50% of them develop the condition under 20 years old.
Its course is unpredictable. Some macules are fixed, while others disappear. There is no precise method of predicting the course of vitiligo.
There are macules in one or a few areas.
There are macules only in one half of the body
It is the most common form, with symmetrical macules in both halves of the body
The cause of Vitiligo is unknown. Various theories have been formulated, while their is strong evidence that patients with vitiligo inherit 3 genes, which make them sensitive to skin discoloration. According to the most widespread theory for the cause of vitiligo, the argument is expressed that Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, i.e. the body itself treats its melanocytes as foreign, turns against them, and destroys them with cytokines. Therefore, vitiligo shows a higher incidence in individuals with other autoimmune diseases, such as alopecia areata, some thyroid diseases, etc., without knowing the reason of this coexistence. According to another theory, the argument is expressed that melanocytes destroy themselves.
• Vitiligo is neither contagious nor life-threatening for the patient.
• Patients with Vitiligo should protect their skin from the sun, since a possible burn can exacerbate the condition.
• It is recommended to use sunscreens with a high protection factor, and the lesions can be covered with special dyes.
• The solarium and relevant sun lamps should be avoided.
• Although Vitiligo is neither painful nor does it have a significant impact on health, it can have have emotional and mental effects.
• Patients with Vitiligo should not make any tattoos, because they can develop Vitiligo on the same spot afterwards
Treatment approaches are usually long-term, and the selection of the treatment method depends on the number of lesions, their size, and location. Treatments can be topical, systemic, as well as surgical, in some cases.