Health Beat : Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a skin condition in which patches of skin loose its original colour.This happens when melanocytes, cells which produce melanin which is responsible for the skin color die off or stop functioning.

This condition is not choosy and can affect people from any age, ethnic group or even gender but at the same time it is not a curse of contagious as many people would think. The exact cause of the disease is unknown but many have linked it to an autoimmune disorder.

The patches can appear on different places for each individual but the main areas include hands, eyes, inside the mouth and the hair leaving one discolored forever. It is normally difficult to know how long the patches will read as some might take weeks, months or even years.

The areas which are affected become really sensitive towards sunlight.


There two main types of vitiligo

Segmental vitiligo affects one segment, or side, of the body (a hand, a leg, or the face) and is non symmetrical. It is known to be more stable than non-segmental vitiligo but only affects a small portion of the population.

Non-segmental vitiligo is more common and affects both sides of the body. It usually begins with a short-lived burst of discoloration on the hands, feet, or face. The affected areas expand with new cycles of pigment loss that occur throughout the person’s life.

There are different types of non-segmental vitiligo which include generalized, acrofacial, mucosal, universal and focal

No segmental vitiligo mainly occurs in the eyes, arms, genetal areas, knees and elbows.


The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown but some factors that may contribute to it are

An auto immune disorder, a virus, hereditary, and a neural cause


The main sign of vitiligo is

  • patch loss of skin color on areas exposed to the sun ,
  • 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.
  • Loss of or change in color of the inner layer of the eyeball.


Since no cure is available for vitiligo, the main goal of treatment is to improve the appearance of discolored skin. The safest treatment option is cosmetics. Medication, light therapy, and surgery can cause dryness, itching, and burning of the skin or more