Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition which causes white patches on the skin. In this condition, the melanocyte cells start dying for unknown reasons and melanocytes are the cells responsible for giving colour to our skin. the immune cells of our body start to kill the melanocytes cells and triggers white patches of vitiligo. It is a sheer truth that immune cells play a vital role in our skin health. White spots on skin treatment may help to reduce the widespread but cannot cure the condition completely.
White patches of vitiligo types:
- Non-segmental vitiligo: The most common type where patients get white patches on both sides of the body.Segmental vitiligo: In this, the patients experience white patches of vitiligo mainly in one area or segment of the body. Such type vitiligo cases are very rare and only 10% of the patient experience it.
The confusing thing with this condition is it is hard to predict how long and to what extent the white patches of vitiligo will be spread. Vitiligo can start at any age but typically it shows first signs by the age of 30s as said by many white patches on skin treatment hospitals. The reasons why immune cells start attacking the melanocytes is still unknown but genetical & environmental triggers are there. It has been seen that people with a family history of vitiligo are more likely to get this condition.
Triggers of Vitiligo:
However, there are a number of factors that put people at an increased risk of developing white patches of vitiligo:
- Genetics: As per many white patches on skin treatment hospitals, certain genetic profiles trigger the white patches of vitiligo to appear. Researchers have identified around 30 genes that are responsible for vitiligo and the most important ones are NLRP1 and PTPN22. Around 20% of vitiligo patients are the one with the family history of this condition.
- Environmental triggers: There are environmental triggers that escalate white patches of vitiligo. Environmental triggers induce melanocytes destruction which causes the white spots to appear. Some of the potential triggers include sunlight, chemical exposure, and trauma etc. These triggers even speed up the widespread in patients being diagnosed with white patches of vitiligo.
Autoimmune diseases: People with certain autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease or alopecia areata are more prone to experience white patches of vitiligo. Among every 4 vitiligo patients, 1 always has some other autoimmune disease.
Signs and symptoms of Vitiligo
The biggest sign of vitiligo is the appearance of white patches on the skin. The white patches of vitiligo can show up anywhere in the body but usually first appear in the sun-exposed areas such as the face, hands, neck, feet etc. The spots can even appear in armpits, genitals and groin area.
Symptoms of vitiligo also include:
- Premature greying of hairs
- Eyelashes or eyebrows turning white
- The retina of the eye changes colour
- white patches in the inner mouth
Depending on the area where the white spots of vitiligo appear, specialists diagnose the widespread of the condition. Progress of this condition and widespread area of the marks varies from person to person. People who get white patches of vitiligo on both sides of the bodies are categorized as generalized vitiligo. Most people tend to get the white patches of vitiligo in only one side of the body.
Vitiligo makes skin more sensitive to sunlight. The white patches of vitiligo are the area with no melanin which stores the dangerous UV rays that cause various other skin conditions. People with vitiligo also may experience hearing issues or inflammation in the iris.
Moreover, rather than physical stress, white patches of vitiligo causes more mental stress. The way society looks and behaves with vitiligo patients, it often leads them to depression. If the white patches of vitiligo cannot be covered under the clothes, then it becomes a real struggle for the patients. They struggle with self-confidence & esteem and prefers to stay isolated from the society.
Vitiligo Diagnosis and Treatment
Not all white patches are vitiligo, they can happen due to other conditions as well. So, it is always good to see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis & treatment. To carry a proper diagnosis, the dermatologist may ask a few questions such as:
- If you have ever been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease
- If you have a family history of vitiligo
- If you have experienced any skin condition recently.
All of these factors indicate the presence of vitiligo. Most of the time, the dermatologist identifies vitiligo by white patches on the skin and referring the given answers for the above questions. They also might use UV rays to identify the pigment loss.
Unfortunately, there is no cure available for white spots of vitiligo but there are several white spots on skin treatment exists which helps to lighten the spots. The treatment options include:
- Cosmetic makeup and self-tanners to cover up the spots
- Corticosteroid creams and tacrolimus ointments
- Laser therapy
- Pigmentation therapy
- Skin grafting, blister grafting
These white spots on skin treatment may show few side-effects such as scar or dryness or itchiness but also promises good results.