Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition affecting about 1% of the population in which the normal color (pigment) of the skin is completely lost. It is most often symmetric (on both sides of the body) and occurs on the eyelids, lips, nose, hands, and feet. Although Vitiligo can start at any age, it typically occurs before the age of 20. It is impossible to predict the extent of the spread.
Symptoms of Vitiligo may include:
- Patchy loss of skin color
- Premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard
- Loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of your mouth and nose (mucous membranes)
- Loss of or change in color of the inner layer of the eyeball (retina)
Although the exact cause of Vitiligo is not known at this time, it is widely agreed upon that changes to the immune system are responsible for the spread of the disease. It is also widely believed that family history also plays a role in who suffers from this skin condition. A third possibility is that a trigger event, such as exposure to a toxic chemical, extreme stress, or even sunburn can cause the spread of Vitiligo.
Vitiligo occurs when the pigment cells (melanocytes) are attacked and die or they stop producing the melanin which gives your skin its natural color. In people with Vitiligo it is possible that the pigment may return to their skin, but it is not guaranteed.
If you are noticing patches of discolored skin or any of the other symptoms of Vitiligo, please contact us today for an appointment. We will discuss current treatments options which include but are not limited to:
- Topical steroids and steroid sparing creams
- Removing the remaining pigment
- Skin grafts
If you suffer from Vitiligo there is hope. Promising new treatments for vitiligo are on the horizon that demonstrate very good success in returning the pigmentation of one’s skin.