VITILIGO 

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo(vit-uh-lie-go) is a skin condition in which pigment cells of the skin (melanocytes) are destroyed in certain areas. It causes the skin to lose its natural color. Patches of lighter skin appear.

 

Causes

  • Autoimmune: Defence cells of body act against normal cells (melanocytes) of the body eventually killing them.

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Unknown cause

 

Aggravating / triggering factors

  • Stress

  • Trauma

  • Infections

 

Presentation

  • Most patients present before 30 years of age

  • Vitiligo causes loss of your natural color.Whitish-chalky white patches (due to pigment loss) over the body

  • Most common areas are 

  • Skin (Face commonly)

  • Eyes

  • Mouth (inside)

  • Trauma prone sites like elbows and knees

  • Can affect hair present on the white patch and also eyebrows and eyelashes

 

Types

  • Covering many parts of the body: Generalised vitiligo

  • Covering one side or part of the body: Segmental vitiligo

  • Covering one or few areas of the body: Focal vitiligo

  • Covering interior of mouth: Mucosal vitiligo

VITILIGO: Tips for Managing

Protect your skin from the sun

  • Use sunscreen every day. You want to generously apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. To get the protection you need, apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside.


To get the protect you need, choose a sunscreen that offers:

  1. UVA/UVB protection (label may say “broad spectrum”)

  2. SPF of 30 or higher

  3. Water resistance

  4. Wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun. Clothing also has an SPF. When it comes to SPF, not all clothing is equal. A long-sleeve denim shirt gives you an SPF of about 1,700. T-shirts offer significantly less protection.
     

  • Seek shade. This is especially important in afternoon when the sun’s damaging rays are at their strongest and you are likely to sunburn.

  • Add color to your skin safely. 

  • Do not get a tattoo. As a new patch of vitiligo can appear about 10 to 14 days later.

 

Myths v/s reality

  • Vitiligo is just another skin condition and shouldn't be regarded as a social stigma.

  • Vitiligo is not contagious and doesn't spread by touching/sharing food.

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