By Dr. Anup Kumar Tiwary, Dermatology
The development of white patches on the skin which may progressively start spreading all over your skin results in the chronic skin disorder known as vitiligo. This skin disorder is often a cause for social embarrassment for many people and may also affect their self-esteem by denting their self-image.
A little more about Vitiligo- The condition is caused due to the death of melanocytes which are the pigment administering agents of the skin. The melanocytes are responsible for the production and distribution of melanin. It may start with a small section of the skin and then spread to other areas of the body and if left untreated may result in the total loss of skin pigmentation. The area of the skin affected by this disorder generally varies from individual to individual. It might occur in the insides of your mouth, hair or eyes and may cause permanent discoloration.
Vitiligo can be classified as-
- Segmental Vitiligo: Even though this condition is stable, it tends to spread faster than the other form of vitiligo. It is asymmetrical in nature and affects the areas of skin that are connected to the nerves originating in the dorsal roots along the spinal cord.
- Non- Segmental Vitiligo: This form of vitiligo occurs in symmetric levels on both sides of the body. Frequent exposure to the sun causes this condition.
Causes- Although, there is no certified cause of vitiligo, the likely causes include chemical exposure, trauma from a stressful event, and genetics. Complications in the immune system may also cause this problem and many classify this as an autoimmune disorder as well.
Symptoms- The main symptom is the appearance of white patches on the skin. Initially, the patches are slightly pale in colour. They become paler with the passing of time and eventually turn white. This makes their appearance on the skin, distinct and prominent. Itching might result due to inflammation occurring at the edge of the patches although this varies from person to person.