Vitiligo, medically known as leukoderma, is a skin condition characterized by the gradual loss of melanocytes (cells responsible for melanin production) resulting in irregular white patches. Vitiligo can affect people of different races and ethnicities. Most commonly it affects the skin on the hands, face, lips, armpits, legs and sometimes even the genitals.
- Family history of the disease
- Exposure to certain chemicals such as phenols (used in colorants, household products)
- Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
- Autoimmune disorder
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Severe physical illness
- Side-effects of certain medicines
- Common signs of vitiligo include, patches of different skin colour on the body or certain areas of the body
- The patches are flat, usually white and cannot be felt with the touch
- You may not feel itchy or hurt
- They usually spread to form bigger patches over the time
- In the long run, the colour of the hair may turn grey completely
- Once you spot any sort of pigmentation, make sure you do not ignore it and seek a specialist’s advice at the earliest.
- The doctor will ask you for your family and medical history to understand the relevance of the disease. He may also examine you physically and suggest a few tests such as blood test or biopsy of the affected skin.
- Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will prescribe you with medications that shall help to reduce the symptoms. The treatment for vitiligo will majorly depend on the number of white patches and how widespread the patches are.
- Broadly the treatment includes medications and topical creams that can be applied on the affected areas.
- In some cases, the doctor may also suggest ultraviolet A light (PUVA) treatment along with other medicines.
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