Vitiligo Basics


In people with vitiligo, the risk of:

  • discomfort in relationships with others (social or psychological discomfort): loss of confidence and self-esteem are common especially if visible areas of skin are affected
    sunburn and skin cancer
  • eye problems, such as inflammation of the iris (iritis)
    partial hearing loss (hearing loss)
  • side effects due to treatment such as dry and itchy skin

Living with Vitiligo is not a contagious disease and does not cause damage to the body.

Nevertheless, sick people are more exposed to erythema and sunburn due to the low melanin produced, which is not enough to protect the skin (natural photoprotection). It is therefore important to use sunscreens.

  • To make the white spots on the visible areas of the body less evident, you can use creams that camouflage them, the so-called camouflage creams. They are waterproof, can be applied anywhere on the body, and some types even contain a sun protection factor (SPF).
  • The damage caused by vitiligo is essentially aesthetic: the disease can ruin the image, and the way in which the affected person perceives it, causing inconvenience in social and working relationships.

Vitiligo, therefore, can cause psycho-emotional disturbances, creating embarrassment, stress and shame in those affected. To promote the recovery of lost self-esteem and a peaceful social life, the doctor may prescribe, if necessary, a specialist visit to begin supportive psychotherapy.

There is a lot of talk about ethnicities, races and colors, then certain diseases arrive and shuffle the cards … As in the case of vitiligo.

What is Vitiligo? Vitiligo is a disease that attacks and destroys melanocytes, the skin cells that produce melanin, the pigment that colors the skin, eyes, hair and hair and acts as the main physiological solar filter.

In correspondence of the areas in which the melanocytes are absent, the skin appears of an ivory white color, in patches of variable size, with well-defined edges and sometimes hyperpigmented (ie of more intense color). All other characteristics of the skin (including its functions) are unaffected. Sometimes the hair and hair and beard that grows in the white areas also lighten.

Why is it called vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a very ancient disease, whose description is found already in Indian and Egyptian texts dating back to 1500 BC, and whose name derives from the Latin viteum, defect. The attitude of prejudice, even in the absence of related functional deficits, is well rooted over time.

Why is it called vitiligoIt affects up to 2% of the world population, regardless of gender and ethnicity. It mostly occurs before pubertal age, however by the age of 20. In 25% of cases there is a familiarity: this is why it is believed that vitiligo is a genetic disease. In support of this theory, the identification of genetic mutations in the DNA of some patients, often with cases concentrated in the family.

Is Vitiligo a Hereditary Disease? Not tout court, vitiligo has an autoimmune mechanism of onset, but the predisposition to develop it can be inherited.

  • Since Vitiligo is not caused by a microorganism, it is not contagious.
  • How Vitiligo manifests itself
  • Where does vitiligo appear?

Vitiligo manifests itself with the appearance of hypo- or depigmentation spots distributed all over the body, with very well demarcated edges and symmetrical distribution. The most affected areas are those:

  • Around the fingernails and toenails;
  • Of the face, especially the periorific ones, around the eyes and mouth;
  • At the level of the neck;
  • In the groin area and genitals.

Does Vitiligo cause itching?

Although vitiligo is generally asymptomatic, with the exception of the discoloration, in some cases it can be associated with itching, particularly in the period of time preceding the appearance of the spots.