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Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a dermatological condition in which the skin loses its pigmentation in patches. The severity of the pigmentation loss due to Vitiligo cannot be predicted. It can affect any part of the body. Even the hairs and the inner part of the mouth are not spared by this condition. Medically speaking, the color of the skin is determined by the amount of melanin that is produced by melanocytes. In Vitiligo, these melanocytes stop producing melanin resulting in the skin at the affected area losing its pigmentation.

People with any type of skin can be affected with Vitiligo but can be observed more in dark-skinned people. Vitiligo is harmless and poses no threat to the overall health of the affected individual; however, it can cause immense stress with the way the skin looks, especially if the exposed part of the body like the face or neck gets affected. With treatment, however, the normal skin color may be restored but it does not stop it from recurring any time in the future.

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Causes

As stated, Vitiligo occurs when melanocytes stop producing melanin which is the pigment that gives the skin its color. The affected area becomes lighter than the rest of the skin which gives it a weird appearance.

The reason as to why the melanocytes malfunction is not known to physicians but some believe that it may be due to:

  • An immune system dysfunction where the melanocytes get destroyed mistakenly
  • Having a family history where a direct relative has this condition
  • Excessive exposure to sun or other harmful chemicals can result in damage to the melanocytes causing Vitiligo

The primary symptom of vitiligo is the appearance of patches on skin surface that are lighter than the rest of the skin. Normally, the face and other areas like the hands and feet that are exposed to the sun are the first places where pigmentation changes are seen.

Other symptoms include graying of hair on the scalp, eyelashes, and beard. Loss of tissue within the mouth and nose is also seen in people with Vitiligo. There will also be change of color of the retina. Even though Vitiligo can develop at any age but in majority of the cases it is seen in people below the age of 20.

There are a variety of treatment options available to restore the skin color. The primary mode of treatments includes medications, surgery, and NBUVB phototherapy treatments. These have provided very encouraging results for people with vitiligo. To begin with, the patient can use makeup to cover the vitiligo spots. If these are ineffective then a consultation with a dermatologist is recommended.

Depending on the severity of the condition, the physician will determine future course of action for treatment in the form of medications, surgery, or NBUVB phototherapy. Dr. Rajeshwari’s Clinic provides the best consultation and treatment plan, and has successfully treated many patients with vitiligo with treatments as mentioned above with minimal to no side effects.

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