Vitiligo: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Vitiligo: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a common skin condition caused by pigmentation (color) lost to the skin. Color disappears in certain areas, often on the back of the hands, face and armpits. This disease is not deadly and can not be cured, but some skin color on the face and neck can return. Sometimes this disease is related to other diseases, such as the thyroid.

Vitiligo occurs in people of all racial and ethnic groups. This disease will be more clearly seen in people with dark skin. Vitiligo can occur at any age, but half of the cases occur in people less than 20 years.

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Signs & Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of vitiligo?

This change cannot be felt with the fingers. Vitiligo is not painful or itchy. The size of vitiligo varies and can reach 1 inch. Areas that lose pigment will spread to a wider area with irregular shapes. Vitiligo often occurs on both sides of the body around the same place. Sometimes the hair in the area will also lose pigment.

There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you have concerns about a particular symptom, consult your doctor.

When should I see a doctor?

You should contact your doctor if your skin, hair or eyes change color. Vitiligo cannot be cured, but therapy can prevent or slow down the process of change and restore color.

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If you have the signs or symptoms above or other questions, consult your doctor. The body of each person is different. Always consult a doctor to handle your health condition.


What causes vitiligo?

The cause is unknown. Vitiligo is the result of loss of cells in the skin called melanocytes that produce melanin, the hair color-determining pigment. Vitiligo is not cancerous and is not contagious. This can be obtained from the family.

Risk Factors

What increases my risk for vitiligo?
There are many risk factors for vitiligo, namely:

  • Genetic: vitiligo can be obtained from the family; people with a family history of vitiligo, or if gray hair appears early are often at a higher risk of vitiligo
  • Risk factors for autoimmune diseases, such as autoimmune Hashimoto thyroiditis
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Not having a risk factor does not mean you cannot get the disease. This factor is just a reference. You should consult with your doctor for more detailed information.