/What is Vitiligo? – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
what is vitiligo

What is Vitiligo? – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments


To define vitiligo, people give various complicated explanations which make it more difficult for common people to understand skin condition vitiligo. The most simplified vitiligo definition is “The condition in which patches of skin start losing their natural beauty and color called vitiligo skin disorder”. The word “Vitiligo” is often pronounced incorrectly but the vitiligo pronunciation mentioned on Wikipedia is vit-l-ahy-goh. Thought, it does not matter how you pronounce the word, you should know about it.
Skin disorder vitiligo usually occurs because of the lack of melanocytes which are the essential cells that produce and provide sufficient amount of pigmentation to the skin and protect it from the sun´s UV rays. If melanocytes cells are destroyed because of any reason, it causes the occurrence of white patches on various sections of skin. Sometimes, these patches also appear on tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose which are called mucous membranes and the inner layer of the eyeball which are called retina.

What Might Be the Possible Reasons of Vitiligo?

The actual causes of skin disease vitiligo are still unknown but the scientific vitiligo research has come to a conclusion that there might be more than 7 causes of vitiligo development which are as follows;


The effected person might be inherited vitiligo from his ancestors. In this natural cycle the vitiligo signs and symptoms are transferred to the children.

Immune System

Second reason which has been widely accepted by the researchers and doctors is that it is an autoimmune disease in which human immune system, a defensive system to provide safety against viruses, germs and infections, turns against body and destroys organs or tissues.


This is a totally different a point of view about vitiligo skin disorder as it says it is possible that melanocytes start destroying themselves which resulted into depigmentation and leads to vitiligo.

Sun Exposure

Those who have to spend more time under the harmful ultra violet rays of sun, are more prone to get this problem as the exposure to the sun mitigate the moisturizer from skin.

Lack of Nutrients

Most of the people are crazy about going out, eating fast foods and processed foods but they miss the most important part of their diet that is nutrient. The lack of nutrients is resulted into dryness of the skin.

Use of Skin Care Products and Anti Biotic

The use of skin care products has become an integral part of human life because of the desire to look better than the others. However, most of these products contain chemicals, which break down the skin’s natural beauty and cause various problems like vitiligo. Another major cause of vitiligo development is considered to be anti biotic.


It is said that the skin disorder vitiligo might also be caused by some unpleasant experiences. However, the majority of the scientists and researchers don’t believe in this theory.

Who Suffers from Vitiligo?

It is believed that nearly 1% of world’s population is affected with vitiligo disease. The survey shows about 2 million of people living in the USA have been affected with this skin disorder. The majority of the people who got this disease are under 20 years of age and the other sufferers are under 40 years of age which means in most of the cases, this skin disorder vitiligo is developed before the age of twenty. Regardless of sex or race, anyone can get this vitiligo skin disorder but the study of reported cases shows that those with dark skin are more prone to get this problem.

Vitiligo Signs and Symptoms

• The sufferers of vitiligo have white patches on their most exposed skin areas such as face, lips, arms, hands and feet. The patches may also occur on other skin spots such as armpits, nostrils, neck, navel, elbows, knees, rectum and genitals.
• Another common symptom of vitiligo is that the color of hair, found in beard, eyebrows and eyelashes, gets changed to gray or white. The same change may occur with mucous membranes.
• Likewise the inner layers of the eyes may also experience change of color.

Types of Vitiligo

Different Vitiligo sufferers experience different signs and symptoms of this skin disorder and because of these variations, vitiligo skin disorder has been divided into various types.

Non Segmental Vitiligo

This is the most common type of vitiligo in which sufferer notices bilateral symptoms.

Segmental Vitiligo

Segmental Vitiligo is the second most common type which effects specific body area. There are some other types too but these two are the most common.

Vitiligo Prevention and Treatment Options

Various treatment methods are available to improve vitiligo disease such as surgery or medication or there is another option which is called adjunctive therapies. The basic purpose to treat the skin condition vitiligo is to restore the natural beauty of skin by pigmenting. However, it is a long process and the patient must be very patient to see the apparent results of the treatment which sometimes might take 1-2 years. Once the sufferer makes up his/her mind to get rid of the problem, the doctor decides which treatment method is best for him/her as it involves various facts and factors such as the size, location and number of patches. Different people get different results of the therapy as some treatment might be good for you but the same may not be good for the other.

Topical Therapies

The visibility of vitiligo can be minimized by using topical therapies such as Topical steroid creams which are found to be very effective in repigmenting the white patches on the skin. This method is more effective if the disease is at initial level.

Psoralen Photochemotherapy

Psoralen Photochemotherapy is anther useful treatment in repigmenting the white patches. This treatment is effective but it has two cons; first, it takes lots of time to produce results and second it might be completely useless or even might create more problems in rare cases. This is because of the fact that Psoralen contains chemicals.

Topical Psoralen Photochemotherapy

TPP is usually used to treat the patient who has very little problem because of skin vitiligo and most of his/her skin area is not affected. It is also useful for small kids. This method is quite simple and the doctor performs this therapy at his clinic to improve vitiligo skin disease.

Oral Psoralen Photochemotherapy

This therapy is for those who are badly effective with vitiligo. The doctors don’t advice children to go for this method as it might be harmful for them especially for their eyes.


The Depigmentation Treatment is the best option for those who have half of their body areas affected with vitiligo. In this method a certain kind of drug is used vitiligo stain to fad the color of the unaffected area to match with the affected area.