Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes loss of skin color in patches or blotches. The extent and rate of color loss from Vitiligo is unpredictable. It may also affect the hair and inside of the mouth. Symptoms of Vitiligo are:
• Loss of skin color
• Skin discoloration
• Premature whitening of hair
• Loss of or change in color of the retina
• Discolored patches of skin in armpits, navel and genitals
HOW IS VITILIGO DIAGNOSED?
The health care provider can usually examine the skin to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes, a health care provider may use a Wood's light. This is a handheld ultraviolet light that causes the areas of skin with less pigment to glow bright white. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be needed to rule out other causes of pigment loss. The doctor may also perform blood tests to check the levels of thyroid or other hormones, and vitamin B12.
HOW IS VITILIGO TREATED?
Current treatment options for vitiligo include medical, surgical, and other treatments. Most treatments are aimed at restoring color to the white patches of skin. Medical treatments include:
• Medicines (such as creams) that you put on the skin
• Medicines that you take by mouth
• A treatment that uses medicine plus ultraviolet A (UVA) light (PUVA)
• Removing the color from other areas so they match the white patches.
Surgical treatments include:
• Skin grafts from a person’s own tissues.
• Tattooing small areas of skin.
DID YOU KNOW?
Vitiligo affects people of all skin colors, but more common in dark skinned people.