Vitiligo is a medical condition in which the body attacks melanocyte cells on a certain area of the skin, causing the appearance of discolored blotches. The location and size of those spots may vary in every case. If vitiligo is not treated, the damaged skin areas may remain permanently discolored, and even change location or disappear on its own. Narrow Band UVB light therapy for vitiligo treatment is highly effective.
Scientists are still not completely sure about the origin of the disease. The most probable causes are:
According to scientists, vitiligo most often appears during the ages of 20 and below. However, it is hard to determine which ages, genders, or ethnicities are at the highest risk. This disease is not infectious, which is why it can’t be transmitted. Among the triggers are: diseases of internal organs, stresses, intoxications, or wearing synthetic materials of a poor quality.
The scientists classify two types of vitiligo: segmental and nonsegmental. The segmental type is more common among children, when different areas of the skin are damaged with scattered blotches. 90% of adults have the second type, when discolored spots appear symmetrically on both sides of the body – palms, knees, elbows or feet. In more rare cases, the disease can affect the entire body. This is known as the universal type of vitiligo.
Only 10% of population have segmental vitiligo. It spreads quicker, but is considered more stable and constant. This type is easier to treat.
The one and only symptom of vitiligo is the appearance of discolored spots. At the beginning, their color doesn’t differ too much from the rest of the skin, however, with time they get noticeably lighter. The spots don’t have a certain shape or size. Their edges can be torn and partly red from irritation. Irritated areas may itch. Besides the spots and some discomfort due to itchiness, vitiligo is not very noticeable and doesn’t influence the work of internal organs. It has been observed that the more sunlight that reaches the discolored areas, the more they are able to progress.
Today, no one can give an exact answer on how fast the disease will progress and what it was caused by. Every patient has a different course for the disease. Sometimes, blotches cover the entire body with scary speed, and sometimes they don’t change in size for months. Every case requires careful examination and treatment.