The loss of pigment from hairs in the eyelash area accentuates the color loss of vitiligo.
The loss of pigment from hairs in the eyelash area accentuates the color loss of vitiligo.
In fair skin patients, vitiligo can be subtle. The total loss of pigment cells make these patients high risk for sunburn within the affected areas.
In fair skin patients, vitiligo can be subtle. The total loss of pigment cells make these patients high risk for sunburn within the affected areas.
This image displays areas of complete absence of skin pigment typical of vitiligo.
This image displays areas of complete absence of skin pigment typical of vitiligo.
This image displays one spot of lightened pigment due to vitiligo.
This image displays one spot of lightened pigment due to vitiligo.
In people with darker skin, the areas of pigment loss in vitiligo are quite distinct.
In people with darker skin, the areas of pigment loss in vitiligo are quite distinct.
This image displays a patient with vitiligo that affects his beard area and the area around his lips.
This image displays a patient with vitiligo that affects his beard area and the area around his lips.
This image displays vitiligo on the backs of feet.
This image displays vitiligo on the backs of feet.
This image displays an almost total pigment loss in a patient with vitiligo.
This image displays an almost total pigment loss in a patient with vitiligo.
Vitiligo is an auto-immune condition that results in flat areas of pigment loss. Fingers are a common location.
Vitiligo is an auto-immune condition that results in flat areas of pigment loss. Fingers are a common location.
The pigment loss in this woman with vitiligo forms an irregular patch.
The pigment loss in this woman with vitiligo forms an irregular patch.

Graphic content

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Areas of lighter skin are caused by vitiligo.
Areas of lighter skin are caused by vitiligo.

Graphic content

Please click to view.

Vitiligo resulting in skin pigment loss as well as pigment loss in pubic hair.
Vitiligo resulting in skin pigment loss as well as pigment loss in pubic hair.

Images of Vitiligo (12)

The loss of pigment from hairs in the eyelash area accentuates the color loss of vitiligo.
In fair skin patients, vitiligo can be subtle. The total loss of pigment cells make these patients high risk for sunburn within the affected areas.
This image displays areas of complete absence of skin pigment typical of vitiligo.
This image displays one spot of lightened pigment due to vitiligo.
In people with darker skin, the areas of pigment loss in vitiligo are quite distinct.
This image displays a patient with vitiligo that affects his beard area and the area around his lips.
This image displays vitiligo on the backs of feet.
This image displays an almost total pigment loss in a patient with vitiligo.
Vitiligo is an auto-immune condition that results in flat areas of pigment loss. Fingers are a common location.
The pigment loss in this woman with vitiligo forms an irregular patch.

Graphic content

Areas of lighter skin are caused by vitiligo.

Graphic content

Vitiligo resulting in skin pigment loss as well as pigment loss in pubic hair.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a disease where the immune system turns against itself (autoimmune disease) where immune cells of the body attack the color-producing (pigment-producing) cells to cause white patches on the skin, which may contain hairs that are white in color. It may be seen with other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, alopecia areata, diabetes mellitus, Addison disease, and myasthenia gravis. The way that vitiligo progresses varies greatly; it may remain in the area where it started (localized) or it may become more widespread.

Who's At Risk?

Vitiligo may occur at all ages but usually begins between the ages of 2 and 40. All races may be affected. Despite a common belief, vitiligo is not seen more often in individuals of African descent; this may seem to be true only because the condition causes a more obvious cosmetic problem for darker-skinned individuals.

Signs & Symptoms

Vitiligo most commonly affects areas of injury (trauma), particularly on the face, upper chest, hands, armpit, and groin. It may be widespread, affecting both sides of the body (generalized); it may affect only one side of the body (segmental); or it may affect only one localized area (focal).

Sharply defined white patches are seen. If the affected area contains hair, the hair may turn white.

Sometimes halo nevi may be seen, in which a mole is surrounded by a circular white patch, resembling a halo.

Take a picture of your skin condition with Aysa

Symptom checkers like Aysa can help narrow down possible skin conditions by analyzing a skin photo.

Self-Care Guidelines

To protect your skin from sunburning, particularly in the affected areas:

  • Avoid exposure to midday sun (10 AM to 3 PM).
  • Wear SPF 45 sunscreen.
  • Wear protective clothing and hats.
  • Apply Dermablend™ or Covermark® cosmetic cover-up makeup to hide white (depigmented) patches.
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Treatments

Your doctor may try any of the following:

  • Topical steroid creams or ointments to help restore skin color. Use these with caution because of the risk of tissue damage (atrophy) with prolonged use, particularly on the face and skin fold areas.
  • Topical non-steroid medications, such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, which deactivate immune cells, may be of benefit. These medications, however, can increase your risk of developing cancer (malignancy).
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light therapy for lesions that do not affect the joints.
  • For very large or widespread lesions in dark-skinned patients, topical chemicals remove color (depigment) the normal skin.
  • Superficial skin grafts, especially in hard-to-treat (recalcitrant) locations, such as over joints.

Visit Urgency

It is not necessary to treat vitiligo, but seek medical evaluation if it becomes bothersome.

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References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.947-955. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed. pp.839-847. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.