What is it?

Vitiligo is a common autoimmune disorder, affecting around 1% of the population. An auto immune disorder means that our body creates antibodies that attack its self. In vitiligo, these antibodies target the cells that our responsible for our pigment, causing patches of unpigmented, white skin. Risk factors include family history of vitiligo or other autoimmune disorders.

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Signs & symptoms

The primary symptom of vitiligo is patches of white skin and/or hair. These areas can appear any where in the body but may be more prominent in sun exposed areas, due to the contrast caused by the tan skin. The hair pigment may also be affected, resulting in grey or white colored hair. This condition is usually progressive, meaning that more patches appear over thime. However, the rate of progression varies greatly.


The diagnosis is usually clinical, based on physical examination and history. Your doctor may also use a special ultraviolet lamp known as Wood’s lamp. This lamp helps to diffrentiate vitiligo from other skin conditions. A skin biopsy is usually not necessary but may be helpful for challenging cases.


There is no cure for vitiligo, the treatment goal is to reduce the color contrast between the unpigmented patches and the surrounding skin.The treatment may vary according to the areas onvolved, the severity of the condition, the response to treatment and more. Treatments include
1. Sunscreen, Sun exposure- Reducing sun exposure will easily help to keep your skin tone even by reducing contrast between the affected areas and the surrounding skin.
2. Topical creams- many include corticosteroids which can help slow spreading and may sometimes help restore pigment to the affected areas.
3. Oral medications- Antibiotics or oral corticosteroids may sometime be affective in treating vitiligo.
4. Ultraviolet therapy- There are a few types of UV therapy that may help restore pigment to your skin.
5. Laser- laser may help treating small areas.
6. Depigmentation- If more than 50% of your body is affected, and you havn't responded to other pigment restoring therapies, your doctor may offer you depigmentation. This treatment focuses on reducing the pigment in the areas that are not affected by vitiligo. The skin is then very sensitive to sunlight.
7. Surgical treatment- there are a few surgical options for vitiligo including implanting pigmented skin from other areas of your body.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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