Vitiligo is a skin condition in which there is loss of pigment (color) from areas of skin, resulting in irregular white patches that feel like normal skin.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Vitiligo appears to be an acquired condition and may appear at any age. There is an increased rate of the condition in some families.
The cause of vitiligo is unknown, but autoimmunity may be a factor. Vitiligo is associated with three systemic diseases:
- Pernicious anemia
- Addison’s disease
The condition affects about 1% of the United States population.
Pictures & ImagesVitiligo
Vitiligo is a condition which involves complete loss of melanin, the primary skin pigment. The cause of vitiligo is unknown but it appears to be an acquired condition and may appear at any age. The resulting lesions are white in comparison to the surrounding skin. Vitiligo may occur in the same areas on both sides of the face or it may be patchy. The typical vitiligo lesion is flat and depigmented, but maintains the normal skin texture.Vitiligo on the face
This is a picture of vitiligo on the face. Complete loss of melanin, the primary skin pigment, occurs for unknown reasons. The resulting lesions are white in comparison to the surrounding skin. Vitiligo may occur in the same areas on both sides of the face (symmetrically) or it may be patchy (asymmetrical). The typical vitiligo lesion is flat (macular) and depigmented, but maintains the normal skin texture. The dark areas around the eyes are this person’s normal skin color.Vitiligo, drug induced
The white spots on this person’s face have resulted from drug-induced vitiligo. Loss of melanin, the primary skin pigment, occasionally occurs as a result of medications, as is the case with this individual. The typical vitiligo lesion is flat (macular) and depigmented, but maintains the normal skin texture.Vitiligo on the back and arm
Vitiligo is characterized by patches of depigmented skin. Here, the contrast is seen very clearly. People with very light skin may not notice small areas of vitiligo. This person is receiving ultraviolet light treatment to help normalize the color of the skin.
Vitiligo: Overview, Causes
Vitiligo: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests
Review Date : 9/24/2008
Reviewed By : Benjamin Medoff, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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