What Is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo (Leukoderma) is an acquired condition that causes the skin to lose color. It is neither contagious nor life-threatening. Besides on the skin, vitiligo can develop anywhere on the body that has pigment, such as the hair, inside the mouth, or the eyes.
Vitiligo is best defined as a skin problem in which there is loss of skin color in blotches. The extent and rate of pigment loss in vitiligo is unpredictable and greatly varies from individual to individual.
These white patches appear when the pigment (Melanin) producing cells of the skin, melanocytes, die off. Skin pigment, Melanin, gives skin its color and also protects it from the harmful UV rays in the Sunlight.
Vitiligo is not contagious and therefore cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
The main goals for treating Leukoderma are regaining pigment in affected areas and minimizing the contrast between normal and affected skin, through sunscreen and sun avoidance. Dermatologists at Sarin Skin may recommend such treatment options as:
- Topical (skin-based) steroids
- Ultraviolet light or laser treatment
- Skin grafting
- Makeup such as Dermablend to help camouflage affected areas.
Symptoms Or Signs of Vitiligo Include
The condition usually has no symptoms other than the loss of color in the skin. The affected areas of skin are not just lighter in color but are depigmented (without any pigment) or chalk-white. Any part of the body can be affected but typical areas are the:
- Hands and arms
- Areas around body orifices (mouth, eyes, nose, anus)
- Feet and legs
- Discoloration of the skin
- Premature whitening or graying of the scalp hair, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard
- Discoloration of the tissues that line the inside of mouth and nose
- Complete loss of or variation in color of the inner layer of eyeball
What Causes Vitiligo?
The exact cause is unknown, but genetic factors are thought to play a role. Leukoderma develops when cells called melanocytes that produce pigment die. Possible causes of the condition include:
- An autoimmune process in which the body’s own immune system attack melanocytes
- A problem in the body’s nervous system that causes these cells to die.
The exact causes of Vitiligo are yet to be determined. But the disease can be related to the following:
- Autoimmune disorder
- Genetic oxidative stress imbalance
- Exposure to certain harmful chemicals
- Damage to the skin due to a critical sunburn or cut
- A neural or viral cause
Vitiligo Treatment Options
Many options are available to restore the skin discoloration in Vitiligo Treatment. However, results vary from person to person and are also unpredictable.
There is no medication that can stop vitiligo, but some medication and therapies can help improve skin’s appearance and even out the skin tone.
The various treatment options include-
- Phototherapy- ultraviolet A (UVA) or UVB light
- Laser Therapy
- Surgery- Skin grafts and Tattooing