What is vitiligo & What causes it ?

Vitiligo is a skin condition in which your skin loses its color or pigment. It occurs in over 1% of the population throughout the world
The condition occurs when your body’s immune system destroys melanocytes. Melanocytes are skin cells that produce melanin, the chemical that gives skin its color, or pigmentation.

Studies suggests vitiligo could be the result of:
An autoimmune condition: Our immune system mistakes healthy cells (melanocytes) as foreign invaders like bacteria that can cause harm to our body. This will cause the immune system to overreact and develop antibodies to destroy melanocytes.
Genetic changes: A genetic mutation or a change in our body’s DNA can affect the melanocytes function. There are over 30 genes that can increase the risk of developing vitiligo.
Stress: The amount of pigment our melanocyte cells produce may change or increase exponentially if one experiences frequent emotional stress or physical stress on the body, especially after an injury.
Environmental triggers: Factors like ultraviolet radiation and toxic chemical exposure can affect how our melanocyte cells function.
This causes our skin to appear lighter than natural skin tone or even turn white gradually.
Areas of our skin that lose their pigment are called macules if they’re less than 1 centimeter wide, or patches if they’re larger than 1 centimeter. If you have vitiligo on a part of your body that has hair, your hair may turn white or silver.

Vitiligo affects all races and sexes equally. It’s more visible in people with darker skin tones. Although vitiligo can develop in anyone at any age, macules or patches usually become apparent before age 30.

Usually check for associated other Auto immune conditions like

  • Diabetes (Type 1)
  • Addison’s disease
  • Anemia
  • Lupus
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid disease

Types of vitiligo?

Types of vitiligo include:
  • Generalized Vitiligo: Most common type of vitiligo that causes macules and patches to appear in various places on your body.
  • Segmental Vitiligo: This type only affects one side of your body or one area, such as your hands or face.
  • Mucosal Vitiligo: Mucosal vitiligo affects mucous membranes of your mouth and/or genitals.
  • Lip Tip Vitiligo: This type affects Lips and tips of the fingers
  • Focal Vitiligo: Focal vitiligo is a rare type where the macules develop in a small area and doesn’t spread in a certain pattern within one to two years.
  • Trichome Vitiligo: This type causes a bullseye with a white or colorless center, then an area of lighter pigmentation, and an area of your natural skin tone.
  • Universal Vitiligo: This rare type of vitiligo causes more than 80% of skin to not have pigment.

Differential Diagnosis of Vitiligo

Chemical leukoderma- Results due to industrial chemicals which damage the melanocytes
Tinea versicolor- This is caused by Malassezia furfur yeast which presents as light colored spots slightly scaly and dark colored as well sometimes
Pityriasis alba – This condition appears as red and scaly in the starting which gradually fade into skin as lighter patches of skin
Albinism – Genetic condition which has lower levels of melanin in skin, hair and eyes

Treatment of Vitiligo

Medications – Science is still evolving. Currently there is no specific medication to stop vitiligo from affecting your skin but there are certain drugs which can slow the speed of progression of pigment loss and help in melanocytes regrow or bring back the color
At skin first Whole body PUVA UVB Chamber is available for the patients
We also provide Hand held UV lights for patient home care usage
Light therapy or phototherapy is the treatment to help return color to your skin. Ultraviolet B lights are directed at your skin for a short amount of time. It can take several light therapy sessions to see results on your skin.
Combining oral psoralen medication and ultraviolet A light (PUVA) treats large areas of skin with vitiligo. This treatment is effective for people with vitiligo on their head, neck, trunk, upper arms and legs.
Micropigmentation or Medical Tattooing
We even use safe organic dyes to mask the light color area. At skin first the procedure is done by the trained professionals under supervision of the Doctor.
Skin Grafting
At Skin First we practice different types of Grafting

  • Split thickness Skin Grafting
  • Non culture epidermal suspension transplant
  • Culture melanocyte transplantation
  • Miniature Punch Grafting
  • Suction Blister Grafting

Vitiligo affects your appearance and can affect how you feel about your skin in social situations. Many people find comfort in speaking with a mental health professional to help them feel more confident and build their self-esteem.
As of now, There’s no cure for vitiligo but if you’d like to get treatment, we will help you choose the treatment that’s right for you and your skin.