Vitiligo is a medical condition that causes the skin to lose color. Some people develop a few spots that may lighten or turn completely white. Others can have widespread loss of skin color. Vitiligo can develop on any part of the body but commonly begins on hands, forearms, feet, or face. There is no way to predict how much color a person will lose. Vitiligo occurs when melanocytes, the cells dependable for skin pigmentation, die or cannot function because of autoimmune disorders, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. As the cells die, an area of skin or hair turns white because the cells no longer make pigment. People who develop vitiligo usually first notice white patches on their skin. These patches are more commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body, including the hands, feet, arms, face, and lips. Other common areas for white patches to appear are the around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, and navel.
There are many treatments to improve the appearance of the affected skin including, but not limited to skin grafting and blister grafting. Self-care steps, such as using sunscreen and applying cosmetic camouflage cream, may improve the appearance of your skin. For fair-skinned individuals, avoiding tanning can make the areas almost unnoticeable. Treatment for vitiligo may take as long as six to 18 months, and you may have to try more than one treatment before you find the one that works best for you.
1.Mayo Clinic Staff. "Treatment and Drugs." Http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitiligo/. Ayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Apr. 2009. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. 2. Stoppler MD., Melissa C. "Vitiligo Symptoms, Causes, Pigmentation Loss Treatment and Diagnosis on MedicineNet.com." MedicineNet - Health and Medical Information Produced by Doctors. Ed. William C. Sheil MD. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. .
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