Vitiligo: Patchy (non-contagious) loss of skin color

Vitiligo is a condition where the skin color is lost in patches, affecting any part of the body. The extent of color loss is normally unpredictable. This condition can affect even the hair, inside of the mouth and the eyes.

Although Vitiligo affects all skin types, it is more noticeable in people with darker skin. Treatment for vitiligo can only give some improvement but cannot cure the disease, and this condition is neither contagious nor dangerous.

Vitiligo (Leucoderma) Causes, Symptoms and Treatments Causes of vitiligo skin disease

Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin, hair and eyes its color. Vitiligo occurs when melanin- forming cells, known as melanocytes, die or stop producing melanin. The involved patches of skin become lighter or white. Though the exact reason for this is not yet known, the following could be the reason in some cases:

  • Auto-immune disorders in which the immune system destroys the melanocytes.
  • Hereditary reasons.
  • Stress, Sunburn or exposure to certain chemicals.

Vitiligo Symptoms

  • Skin discoloration – skin becomes light or white.
  • Premature whitening of the hair of scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard.
  • Loss of color in the mucous membranes – tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose.
  • Change in color of the retina of the eye.
  • Discoloration around the armpits, navel, genitals and rectum.

In most of the cases the discoloration spreads, ending in involvement of most of the skin. Vitiligo has the tendency to appear before the age of 20.

Vitiligo Treatment in India

1. Vitiligo Treatment through Medications:

Till now no medicine has been found out that can cure vitiligo. But the skin’s appearance can be improved with some drugs and/or light/laser/depigmentation therapy.

Depigmentation treatment for vitiligo can be used in cases where vitiligo patches are widespread but incomplete on face or other body sites. Depigmentation treatment only attempts to even the patchy discoloration and bring more evenness into the skin.

2. Vitiligo surgical treatment options

a. Vitiligo Skin grafting – Here very small sections of the normal, pigmented skin is taken and attached to the areas that have lost pigment. This procedure is used for small patches of vitiligo.

b. Vitiligo Blister grafting–Here a blister is created on the pigmented skin and the top of the blister is transplanted to an area of discolored skin.

c. Vitiligo Tattooing Treatment – In this technique, an instrument is used to implant pigment into the skin. It helps people with darker skin.

Cosmetic Surgery for Vitiligo cost varies and depends on the size area and location of treatment. Also the choice for surgery, laser treatment, or treatment through medication varies and depends on stage of the disease and extent of its spread.

However, before you take any treatment step (including medication), please consult your doctor. Please do not start any treatment without consulting your doctor.

Did You Know!

In case of Vitiligo

  • Physical examination is done to rule out other conditions such as dermatitis or psoriasis.
  • Sometimes ultraviolet light is shone on the skin to diagnose vitiligo.
  • Biopsy is done by taking small sample of the affected skin.
  • Patient even has to undergo examination by an ophthalmologist and audiologist.

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