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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a condition where loss of color (pigment) causes white patches to develop on the skin. Any part of the body may be affected, but it most commonly appears on exposed areas of skin, around the armpits and groin, at injury sites or around moles.
What are the symptoms of vitiligo?
Vitiligo usually first appears as a few small white patches that may then spread over several months. It can occur on any part of the body, but usually begins on the hands, feet, forearms and face. Vitiligo can also affect the eyes, ears or linings of the …
What causes vitiligo?
It is thought that vitiligo occurs when the immune system destroys healthy melanocyte cells in the skin by mistake. Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin, the pigment responsible for determining the color of your skin, hair and eyes. The characteristic white …
Is vitiligo painful?
Apart from the loss of color from the skin, vitiligo doesn't cause any other symptoms, illness or other skin changes, such as dryness or soreness. However, affected skin may occasionally be itchy.
How do the symptoms of vitiligo progress?
It is difficult to predict how vitiligo symptoms will progress. In some people, the white patches grow and spread, but stay in the one area for years. However, it is also possible for symptoms to shift and change over time as areas of skin lose and …
Is vitiligo contagious?
Vitiligo doesn't pass from person to person and is not caused by any kind of infection. However, it does tend to run in families, suggesting that a genetic component of vitiligo may be passed on from parents to their children.
How is vitiligo treated?
As there is no known cure for vitiligo, treatments aim to improve the skin's appearance by restoring color or making symptoms less noticeable. A number of options are available, including camouflage products, medications, light therapies or surgery. However, as …
Does vitiligo lead to any further complications?
While vitiligo doesn't develop into other conditions, the associated lack of color makes affected skin more prone to sunburn. Also, as vitiligo often affects exposed skin on a long-term basis, the condition may lead to psychological issues, …
About this article
Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 19 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Votes: 515 (Click smiley face below left to rate)