Info vitiligo basics

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Vitiligo is a skin disease of unknown origin, possibly autoimmune.

It would seem caused, in fact, by an excessive reaction of the body’s defense system that attacks, by mistake, the cells (melanocytes) producing the pigment (melanin) which determines the natural color of the skin, thus determining the presence of spots. white (depigmented) well circumscribed.

Vitiligo is not painful, non-contagious, non-hazardous to health, has a rapid course, and can affect any area of ​​the skin, although it most commonly occurs on the face, neck, hands and skin folds. It affects about 1% of the world population regardless of gender or ethnicity; it occurs more frequently after the age of twenty, although it can occur at any time in life.

White areas of skin, without pigment (depigmented), are more vulnerable to sunburn, therefore, it is important to apply a cream with a high protection factor (SPF) when exposed to the sun (read the Bufala).

Vitiligo treatment aims to restore the natural color of the skin. The aesthetic aspect caused by the disease, in fact, can represent a great problem from a psycho-emotional point of view in those affected. Supportive psychological therapy can help regain lost self-esteem and regain a normal social life.

Disorders (symptoms) caused by Vitiligo include:

  • discoloration of areas of the skin
  • premature bleaching or graying of hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, or beard (before age 35)
    loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose (mucous membranes)
  • loss, or change in color, of the membrane that lines the inner surface of the eye (retina)

The areas of skin most commonly affected by Vitiligo include:

  • contour of the mouth and eyes
  • fingers and wrists
  • armpits
  • groin
  • genitals
  • inside of the mouth
  • scalp

Vitiligo often begins with the appearance of light patches on the skin that have a whiter center than the surrounding area. The border can be smooth or irregular surrounded by a darker (hyperpigmented) area.

If there are blood vessels under the affected skin, the patch may be slightly pink. Vitiligo develops differently from person to person: in some, the white spots are few and small; in others, they occupy large areas of the body. Occasionally they can itch and are usually permanent.

Types of Vitiligo

Vitiligo is classified according to the distribution of the spots. The two main types are:

  • non-segmental vitiligo, also called bilateral or generalized vitiligo
  • segmental vitiligo, also called unilateral or localized vitiligo

Types of VitiligoIn rare cases, vitiligo may affect the whole body and is known as universal or complete vitiligo. Non-segmental or bilateral vitiligo

In bilateral vitiligo, depigmented spots appear symmetrically on both sides of the body. They can appear on:

  • back of hands
  • arms
  • skin around openings (eyes, mouth, genitals, anus)
  • knees
  • elbows
  • feet

Non-segmental vitiligo is the most common type and affects about 9 out of 10 people with vitiligo.

Segmental or unilateral vitiligo

Segmental vitiligo is not symmetrical and the white patches of the skin only affect one area of ​​the body. It is less common than bilateral vitiligo and accounts for only 10% of all forms of vitiligo. It occurs mainly in children, particularly in 3 out of 10 affected by vitiligo.