What is Vitiligo?

woman with beautiful skin

Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease that causes the skin to lose color and turn white in blotchy patches. The cells that are responsible for the color of skin are called melanocytes. When those cells are damaged or destroyed, the skin loses its pigment. White isolated patches are the first sign of vitiligo, but it can spread to affect areas of the entire body. Common areas of occurrence are face, hands, lips, ears, and arms. In a majority of cases, vitiligo depigmentation occurs in one of three patterns:

  • Localized – limited to a single or a few areas
  • Segmental – impacts one segment, or side, of the body
  • Generalized – the most common pattern, occurs all over the body

The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown and there may be a genetic component. Many experts link it to autoimmunity. That is because it appears that the immune system is mistakenly attacking the pigment-producing melanocytes. Vitiligo affects an estimated 1% of the world’s population and impacts males and females of all ethnicities equally. A majority of people with vitiligo develop the condition before age 21, but it can appear at any age.

Apart from the risk of sunburn in the lightened areas, vitiligo causes no further physical problems. However, many people are embarrassed by the condition and want to seek treatment for it. Dr. Jamie Weisman is a board-certified dermatologist who understands the emotional impact that skin depigmentation can have on a person’s quality of life. She specializes in the relationship between autoimmune disease and skin disorders, such as vitiligo.

While it is considered a lifelong condition, there are some treatments that can help minimize its effects. Common treatment options include medications, prescription creams, and laser treatments. At Medical Dermatology Specialists, our compassionate and dedicated team will properly diagnose and treat any skin depigmentation issue using the Xtrac excimer laser. This state-of-the-art UVB light therapy has been proven to reduce, lessen, and in some cases, eliminate pigment irregularities.

To restore your skin’s pigmentation and even skin tone, contact Medical Dermatology Specialists. With extensive research into the latest methods to treat skin disorders and years of experience helping thousands of patients, we provide comprehensive treatment and individualized care for people with vitiligo.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.