Looking for a Vitiligo Cure?
Vitiligo is a skin condition of white patches resulting from loss of pigment. Any part of the body may be affected. Usually both sides of the body are similarly affected by a few to many milky-white patches. Common areas of involvement are the face, lips, hands, arms, legs and genital areas.
Vitiligo affects one or two of every 100 people. About half the people who develop it do so before the age of 20; about one fifth have a family member with this condition. Most people with vitiligo are in good general health. Melanin, the pigment that determines color of skin, hair, and eyes, is produced in cells called melanocytes. If these cells die or cannot form melanin, the skin becomes lighter or completely white. Vitiligo is the result of the disappearance of the skin’s melanocytes. No one knows why this happens for sure.
Causes of Vitiligo
Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its characteristic color. Vitiligo is caused by a loss of pigment in the skin, due to destruction of pigment-forming cells known as melanocytes. The exact cause of the destruction of these cells is not known. One possible explanation might be that the body’s immune system destroys the cells, as in other autoimmune conditions. Although vitiligo affects all races equally, it is more noticeable in dark-skinned people.
Symptoms of Vitiligo
Symptoms of vitiligo include an often rapid pigment loss on several areas of the skin. The initial appearance of the white patches can be followed by a stable period without any progression of the condition. Later on, further cycles of pigment loss and stability may be observed. Vitiligo commonly affects areas on the skin that are exposed to sun, body folds (such as armpits), previous sites of injury, areas around moles, or areas around body openings. It is rare for pigment to return once the white patches have developed. Vitiligo can also affect the eyelids and hair.
Diagnoses and Treatment of Vitiligo
Your doctor can usually make the diagnosis of vitiligo during a physical exam. There is no known way to prevent or cure vitiligo. However, several methods, including cosmetics, re-pigmentation using UV light therapy, corticosteroid creams, depigmentation of unaffected skin areas, and skin grafting, can be used to improve the appearance of skin severely affected by vitiligo.
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