Vitiligo is a condition
in which pigment- producing cells (melanocytes) are destroyed. This results
in irregularly shaped white patches on the skin.
Some people may only have
one or two small patches, while others may have many. Some develop large patches.
While vitiligo is more noticeable
in people with darker skin, it can affect people of all races.
The precise cause is unknown.
There are a couple of theories about the cause. One such theory is the autotoxic
theory which believes that the pigment-producing cells are self-destructive.
Vitiligo is also sometimes
associated with some sort of physical skin injury, such as sunburn.
Vitiligo may be genetic
(hereditary) as it seems to run in families.
the symptoms of vitiligo?
- Irregularly shaped white
patches on the skin.
- These patches may be
large or small.
- Any part of the body
can be affected, however vitiligo is most commonly found on exposed sites
such as the face and arms, around body folds such as the armpits or at the
site of an injury such as a burn.
- Body hair in the affected
region usually turns white. If the scalp is affected, there may be premature
greying of the hair.
- In some cases, vitiligo
can affect the whole body.
If you notice any of these
symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
any other health concerns associated with vitiligo?
Yes. While most people with
vitiligo are in good general health, there seems to be a greater risk of them
developing other auto-immune diseases, such as thyroid disease or pernicious
The area of white skin CANNOT
tan, it can only burn. Therefore sun block should always be used on the patches
if they are exposed to sunlight.
Is it safe
to use make-up to cover up vitiligo?
Yes. As long as you are
not allergic, any shop-bought make-up is fine. However remember how important
sun protection is. Even if the make-up has a sun protection factor in it, it
is probably not strong enough to protect the white patches from burning.
a progressive condition?
In many cases, yes. The
condition is often progressive, with the white patches gradually spreading to
other parts of the body.