What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo causes the skin to lose its natural color. Patches of lighter skin appear. Some people develop a few patches. Others lose much more skin color. Vitiligo develops when cells called melanocytes die. These cells give our skin and hair color.  Scientists do not completely understand why these cells die. One type of vitiligo, non-segmental vitiligo, may be an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease develops when the body mistakes a part of itself as foreign. If the body mistakes melanocytes as foreigners, it will attack and kill these cells.  Studies suggest that the other type of vitiligo, segmental vitiligo, has a different cause. This type seems to develop when something in the body’s nervous system goes awry.

How is Vitiligo Treated?

It is unusual for vitiligo to resolve on its own, although in some cases it may. In most situations, patients must seek treatment to improve the look of their skin if they suffer from vitiligo. Treatment for vitiligo is customized according to the patient. Although there is no known cure for vitiligo, there are ways to improve the overall skin appearance. Treatments may include topical steroid creams and ultraviolet light therapy. While it may not be completely eradicated, the appearance of vitiligo can be greatly reduced with the use of the right customized therapy.