Your Trusted Partner in Vitiligo

At our clinic, we specialize in providing comprehensive care and support for individuals living with Vitiligo. Our dedicated team of dermatologists offers top-notch treatment options tailored to your unique needs, aiming to restore pigmentation, manage symptoms, and improve quality of life.

Understanding Vitiligo

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition characterized by the loss of pigment in patches of skin, resulting in irregular white or depigmented areas. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color), are destroyed or stop functioning. The exact cause of vitiligo is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, autoimmune, and environmental factors. Vitiligo patches can appear anywhere on the body, and their size and location can vary widely among individuals. While vitiligo itself is not contagious or life-threatening, it can have significant psychological and emotional impacts due to changes in appearance and societal stigma. Treatment options for vitiligo aim to restore pigmentation, manage symptoms, and improve quality of life.

What are the types of Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is typically classified into different types based on the pattern and distribution of depigmented patches on the skin. The two primary types of vitiligo are:

  1. Non-segmental Vitiligo: Also known as generalized or bilateral vitiligo, non-segmental vitiligo is the most common form of the condition, accounting for about 90% of cases. In non-segmental vitiligo, depigmented patches tend to occur symmetrically on both sides of the body. These patches often appear on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, arms, feet, and areas around body openings (like the eyes, nostrils, and mouth). Non-segmental vitiligo can further be classified into subtypes, including focal, segmental, and generalized vitiligo.

  2. Segmental Vitiligo: Segmental vitiligo, also known as unilateral or localized vitiligo, is less common and tends to occur unilaterally (on one side of the body) or in a localized area. It often develops at a younger age and progresses more rapidly than non-segmental vitiligo. Segmental vitiligo may also be associated with other autoimmune conditions, such as autoimmune thyroid disease. Unlike non-segmental vitiligo, segmental vitiligo typically does not spread over time and may stabilize or improve without treatment.

What are the symptoms of Vitiligo?

  • Depigmented Patches: Irregular, white or light-colored patches of skin.

  • Symmetrical Distribution: Patches often occur symmetrically on both sides of the body.

  • Localized Areas: Patches commonly appear on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, arms, feet, and areas around body openings.

  • Hair Color Changes: Premature graying or loss of pigment in hair on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or beard.

  • Mucous Membrane Involvement: Depigmentation may also occur on mucous membranes, such as the lips, inside the mouth, and genital area.

  • Progressive Nature: Depigmented patches may gradually enlarge or spread over time, with new patches potentially developing elsewhere on the body.

  • Variable Severity: The severity and extent of depigmentation can vary widely among individuals, ranging from small, localized patches to widespread involvement of multiple body areas.

What causes Vitiligo?

  1. Autoimmune Factors: Dysfunction of the immune system may lead to the destruction of melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) in the skin.

  2. Genetic Predisposition: Genetic factors play a role in susceptibility to vitiligo, with a higher risk observed in individuals with a family history of the condition.

  3. Neurochemical Factors: Disruption in neurochemical substances or neurotransmitters may contribute to the development of vitiligo.

  4. Environmental Triggers: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as chemicals, toxins, or traumatic events, may trigger or exacerbate vitiligo in susceptible individuals.

  5. Oxidative Stress: Increased oxidative stress and damage to melanocytes may play a role in the pathogenesis of vitiligo.

  6. Viral Infections: Certain viral infections, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), have been implicated as potential triggers for vitiligo in some individuals.

  7. Neural Theory: Dysfunction of nerve endings in the skin may disrupt melanocyte function and contribute to the development of vitiligo patches.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosing vitiligo typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and sometimes additional tests. During the examination, a dermatologist will assess the pattern, distribution, and extent of depigmented patches on the skin, as well as any involvement of mucous membranes or hair. The doctor may inquire about family history, previous skin injuries or sunburns, and any autoimmune conditions. In some cases, a Wood’s lamp examination may be performed to evaluate the extent of depigmentation under ultraviolet light. Additionally, skin biopsies may be taken to confirm the absence of melanocytes and rule out other skin conditions with similar presentations. While there is no specific blood test or diagnostic marker for vitiligo, these investigations can help differentiate vitiligo from other skin disorders and guide treatment decisions.

How do you treat Vitiligo?

  1. Topical Corticosteroids: These anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce inflammation and repigment the skin. They are most effective for localized vitiligo and are typically applied to the affected areas of the skin.

  2. Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: Drugs such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) can be used to suppress the immune response and promote repigmentation in vitiligo patches.

  3. Phototherapy: Light therapy, including narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) therapy and excimer laser therapy, can stimulate melanocyte activity and repigment the skin. Phototherapy is often used for widespread or stubborn cases of vitiligo.

  4. Oral Medications: Oral corticosteroids, oral calcineurin inhibitors, and other systemic medications may be prescribed for more extensive or rapidly progressing vitiligo.

  5. Depigmentation: In cases of widespread or cosmetically disfiguring vitiligo, depigmentation therapy may be an option to lighten the unaffected skin to match the depigmented areas.

  6. Surgical Procedures: Surgical techniques such as autologous melanocyte transplantation, suction blister grafting, and punch grafting can transplant melanocytes or skin from unaffected areas to vitiligo patches.

  7. Cosmetic Camouflage: Makeup, self-tanning products, and skin dyes can help conceal depigmented areas and improve the appearance of vitiligo patches.

  8. Counseling and Support: Psychological counseling and support groups can help individuals cope with the emotional and social challenges of living with vitiligo.

Frequently Asked Question on Vitiligo
Is vitiligo associated with other health conditions?

Vitiligo may be associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. Regular medical evaluations may be recommended to monitor for associated conditions.

Can vitiligo be cured?

While there is no cure for vitiligo, various treatment options are available to manage symptoms, promote repigmentation, and improve the appearance of affected skin.

Who can develop vitiligo?

Vitiligo can affect people of all ages, races, and ethnicities. It is more common in individuals with a family history of the condition or other autoimmune diseases.


Is vitiligo contagious?

No, vitiligo is not contagious. It is not caused by an infection or contact with an affected individual.

What support resources are available for individuals with vitiligo?

Support groups, online forums, and advocacy organizations are available to provide information, resources, and emotional support for individuals living with vitiligo and their families.