Everything about Vitiligo: You must know!

Everything about Vitiligo: You must know!

Healthcare News

Everything about Vitiligo: You must know!

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a condition in which white patches may appear on the skin. These patches develop without any previous disease or injury. 

Melanin, synthesized by cells called melanocytes, gives skin its normal colour. In vitiligo, melanocytes do not function properly, leading to the formation of white patches. This malfunctioning of melanocytes sometimes improves on its own and sometimes needs treatment.

There is usually no itching, redness, pain, or scaling in vitiligo. Loss of sensation is also not a feature of vitiligo. 

Cause of Vitiligo

Vitiligo can start at any age, sex, or race, and its course is hard to predict. The precise cause of vitiligo is not completely understood. It tends to be more noticeable in individuals with darker skin. Generally, it tends to progress slowly, with periods of stability. 

However, it may progress faster in some cases, while in others, it may remain static after a certain point. The hair over the affected patches may or may not turn white. Additionally, new patches may appear at sites of injury. 

The re-pigmentation process usually begins around the hair follicles initially, and pigment also comes from the surrounding normal skin. As a result, white patches on non-hair-bearing areas and over joints tend to re-pigment more slowly than other sites.

Diagnosis of Vitiligo

The diagnosis of vitiligo is primarily made through a clinical examination of the patient’s skin. In most cases, additional tests are not required to confirm the diagnosis. However, in certain situations, doctors may examine the patches under a Wood’s lamp, which emits ultraviolet light, to aid in the diagnosis. Wood’s lamp can help highlight the depigmented areas of the skin by making them appear more distinct. 

Six Facts about Vitiligo

  1. Vitiligo is not a contagious condition. It cannot be transmitted through physical contact, communication, sharing sleeping spaces, sitting together, or eating with individuals who have this condition. 

  1. It is not caused or aggravated by food or edible items. Patients do not have to follow dietary restrictions or avoid using milk or milk products, fish, meat, eggs, and sour fruits (orange, lemon).

  1. Having a close blood relative with vitiligo doesn’t guarantee that you will get vitiligo too. A number of genes are involved in the development of vitiligo in an individual. Vitiligo develops when changes occur in these genes, and in the right combination.

  2. While there may be some cases where a family history of vitiligo exists, most patients do not have a family history of the condition.

  3. It is not typically transmitted to offspring in a predictable pattern. The chances of children not having vitiligo when one parent has the condition are generally higher than the chances of them developing vitiligo.

  1. Vitiligo does not affect the normal functioning of the body. 

Treatment of Vitiligo

Treatment options for vitiligo depend on the extent and progression of the disease. If the vitiligo is localized to a small area or a few patches, creams or ointments may be used as a treatment. When the disease is more widespread, oral therapy may be prescribed. Another option is light treatment, such as narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) phototherapy or excimer laser. In cases of residual disease or stable vitiligo, surgery may be considered as a treatment approach.

To sum up, vitiligo may happen to anybody. There is no fixed cause behind its occurrence. What is more important is that the diagnosis should not affect the morale of an individual. One can manage the situation by cosmetic camouflage or simply ignore other’s views and be strong in their own will.