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What is Vitiligo

What is Vitiligo? Top 5 Vitiligo Types, Causes, and How to manage it

Vitiligo is the kind of skin problem which causes the skin to have those white patches. It is commonly seen on the arms, hands, feet, face, and forearms as well. 1 percent of the total population is affected by vitiligo and it causes the skin to lose its natural pigmentation. Not to worry it is not a life-threatening condition but could be stressful as it causes losing confidence.

It is a little complicated to understand this condition as it is of quite a range. But there is some treatment that can in managing the spreading of vitiligo. So, let's discuss vitiligo, its symptoms, and how to treat it.

What is Vitiligo?

Skin losing its pigment is a characteristic of the skin disorder called vitiligo. There is the appearance of white patches also known as macules on the skin which are larger than 5mm. This can affect not only your skin but the symptoms are also seen on the hair.

The body's formation of melanin impacts the pigmentation of your skin and hair. The skin starts to appear white or discoloration is seen also called vitiligo when the production of melanin cells has stopped in that particular area. This condition is more visible in people who have dark skin as compared to the fair skin people.

What are the types of Vitiligo?

There are different types of vitiligo depending on the affected site of the skin:-

Focal Vitiligo

It occurs when the white patches are there on one side of the body and is not seen in the other parts. This doesn't spread to the other body parts.

Generalized Vitiligo

In Generalized vitiligo, the patches are covering the body and you are going to see the white patches on different parts of the body. It is one of the most typical ones observed in Vitiligo people.

Trichrome Vitiligo

It appears to be a mixture of the dark as well as lighter patched and can be very easily noticed. You can easily see the heavily colored skin patches.

Segmental Vitiligo

It is the type that can be seen on just one part like the face or hands and is restricted to that place only.

Universal Vitiligo

It is one of the rare types of vitiligo and is distributed to different parts of the body. This is seen in affecting 80 percent of the body part.

What are the causes resulting in Vitiligo?

It is not well known what basically causes vitiligo but it is seen that there are different causative factors that could lead to Vitiligo including:-

Genetical factor:- There are certain factors that could cause an increase in the chances of having Vitiligo if there is someone in your family having vitiligo. It is observed that it runs in the family in about 30% of cases.

Is vitiligo genetic

Autoimmune disorder:- It is seen in many cases that people with a certain type of immune problem start to develop vitiligo as the antibodies in our body starts to destroy the melanocytes.

Neurogenic factors:- There could be a chance that the toxic substance can be released to melanocytes by the nerve endings.

How does it lead the vitiligo to progress?

Vitiligo normally starts with a small patch which can increase gradually and in months it's seen to progress all over the body. It mainly appears on the hands, and face as well well feet. It can even spread to the lining of our organs which is also called a mucous membrane and could be seen even in the rectal region.

And these patches start to spread more and this continues to cover the whole body part. While there are cases where it has lasted in one place for years. These patches may also migrate around the body, from one area to another. There are times when the pigmentation can go and come.

What are the ways to treat Vitiligo?

Well, there is no such proven cure for Vitiligo that can help in treating vitiligo. But yes there are ways to improve the pigmentation of the skin and here are a few recommended treatments including:-

Repigmentation Therapy

There are corticosteroids that can be either applied topically or can be swallowed. They might take time and could show results in the time of 3 months.

The topical application of Vitamin D can contribute to treating the disease.

Camouflage therapy

  • The sunscreen which is higher than SPF30 will help in shielding the skin from UV Rays. This helps in reducing the tan and limiting the spread of vitiligo to the skin.
  • Makeup is one of the ways to camouflage the affected skin.
  • There are hair dyes present to color the hair which helps cover the pigmented hair.
  • Depigmentation therapies are also available and are used to stop the spread of illness.

Light therapy

Vitiligo treatment

  • This is a narrow band service that requires almost three to two months to show its result and the sessions are once a week.
  • The combination of oral psoralen as well as UVA can help in treating the larger parts of the skin which have affected the vitiligo.


  • There is the grafting of skin where one part of the skin is taken to cover another part of the skin. This might lead to scarring or infection in some cases.
  • Micropigmentation is a type of tattooing and is usually used for lips affected with vitiligo.

What are some Natural Remedies?

There are few natural remedies that can help in managing the spread of vitiligo and these include:-

Vitamin E

It is found in the form of oil and could be massaged on the affected area.

Folic Acid

You can easily find them in broccoli as well as spinach and also try including whole grain in the diet.


Ayurvedic treatment for vitiligo

It is a herb that is better known as the Ginkgo Biloba and it is also seen that it has helped people in regaining their natural color. Along with that, it is packed with an anti-inflammatory.

What is the other condition related to Vitiligo?

vitiligo starting stage

There are many conditions that look like vitiligo but are not related to them including:-

  • Tinea versicolor is a kind of yeast infection resulting in dark spots and is mainly seen in people who have a light complexion.
  • Albinism is a genetic condition resulting in low production of melanin in the skin, eyes as well as hair.
  • Leprosy is a bacterial infection that is often confused with vitiligo while they both are different. Leprosy causes the skin to have those light patches on the body.

Take Aways

Vitiligo is quite a difficult skin order to treat and people living with them find it really disturbing. But what we can do is to maintain positive thinking every day and handle it with regular attention as well as skin care. Apply the needed medicated ointments which will help you to improve the skin condition. If there is an increase in the spread of the spots then always consider taking help from your dermatologist.


Q. Is vitiligo contagious?

Ans. No, it is not contagious and can not spread from one person to the other because it is an auto-immune disorder.

Q. Can Vitiligo cause death?

Ans. No, it does not cause death as it is not fatal and just affects the skin not other parts of body.

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