Vitiligo

Created: 03.08.2023

Updated: 27.12.2023

Approved by: General Practitioner, Dr Binita Parmar

Vitiligo is a skin disorder in which white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body. This happens because the cells that produce melanin, which is responsible for skin, eye, and hair colour, die or stop functioning.

Causes and commonalities

Vitiligo occurs as usual in early adulthood and affects men and women equally often. It is often found in families and is probably an autoimmune disease and possibly related to other types of autoimmune diseases such as lupus. The cause is a loss of melanocytes, the cells that contain the dye melanin and make your skin darker when you sunbathe.

Treatment

There is no reliable treatment for vitiligo yet. However, there are some measures to improve skin appearance.

Light treatment has been shown to be able to delay the spread of whatever is happening. Topical treatment of the skin with immunosuppressive creams or steroids may confer some benefit.

It is also possible to operate by moving melanocytes to skin that lacks pigment. It is not entirely clear how well this works yet.

Most people who get vitiligo try to avoid the sun because they do not want a tan that makes the white areas clearer. This may not make a significant difference for people with darker skin, for obvious reasons.

Prognosis

Vitiligo that occurs locally on a small area of ​​the body is most often self-limiting. In most cases, it stabilises quickly and does not spread further.

Vitiligo on larger parts of the body, on the other hand, can continue to develop over several years before it stabilises, but can then begin to spread again. Vitiligo that affects the entire skin is extremely rare.

Vitiligo

Created: 03.08.2023

Updated: 27.12.2023

Approved by: General Practitioner, Dr Binita Parmar

Vitiligo is a skin disorder in which white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body. This happens because the cells that produce melanin, which is responsible for skin, eye, and hair colour, die or stop functioning.

Causes and commonalities

Vitiligo occurs as usual in early adulthood and affects men and women equally often. It is often found in families and is probably an autoimmune disease and possibly related to other types of autoimmune diseases such as lupus. The cause is a loss of melanocytes, the cells that contain the dye melanin and make your skin darker when you sunbathe.

Treatment

There is no reliable treatment for vitiligo yet. However, there are some measures to improve skin appearance.

Light treatment has been shown to be able to delay the spread of whatever is happening. Vitamin D therapy has been tried, it also has topical treatment of the skin with immunosuppressive creams without consistent results.

It is also possible to operate by moving melanocytes to skin that lacks pigment. It is not entirely clear how well this works yet.

Most people who get vitiligo try to avoid the sun because they do not want a tan that makes the white spots clearer. This works for obvious reasons poorly for people who initially have a darker skin type.

Prognosis

Vitiligo that occurs locally on a small area of ​​the body is most often self-limiting. In most cases, it stabilizes quickly and does not spread further.

Vitiligo on larger parts of the body, on the other hand, can continue to develop over several years before it stabilizes, but can then begin to spread again. Vitiligo that affects the entire skin is extremely rare.

Doctor
General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.

Dermatologist

At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.