Vitiligo is a skin condition in which areas of the skin and of mucous membranes gradually lose their normal pigmentation and become white. It can occur at any age, but most commonly appears between 10‑30 years of age.
This autoimmune disease is manifested by the appearance of white spots and patches in various parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, and armpits, the area around the mouth, the eyes and the genitals, while it favors sites of skin injury from various causes (Koebner phenomenon).
Typically, vitiligo’s colorless spots gradually increase in size, leading to a significant aesthetic problem, particularly in people with dark skin. The disease may arise as a result of genetic-hereditary causes and is often associated with thyroid disorders and other autoimmune diseases.
Depending on the mode of its occurrence, vitiligo is classified as focal, segmental and generalized. Normally, it is diagnosed by its clinical presentation. Biopsy may be necessary if a differential diagnosis is necessary to distinguish from other diseases that cause hypopigmentation, such as post-inflammatory hypopigmentation, mycosis fungoides and pityriasis versicolor.
Each treatment about to be applied should be individualized depending on each patient and should take into account the benefit of treatment in relation to the possible side effects that each one of the treatments has. The results of the treatment available today vary and cannot guarantee complete repigmentation of the area.
The currently available options for the treatment of vitiligo are:
In order to prevent vitiligo from spreading, it is essential to avoid friction injuries. Furthermore, the use of sunscreen is important both for the protection of the white patches of skin due to lack of melanin, and for the protection of normal skin from sunburns, on the ground of which new vitiligo lesions may develop.