Vitiligo, or "light sickness" is a fairly common dermatological condition and is more common in countries with intense sunlight. It affects 1-2% of the population worldwide, with the most common age of onset being around 20 years. But at what age does vitiligo appear? The age of onset of vitiligo varies and many times vitiligo starts in childhood affecting the psychology and self-esteem of children. The first symptoms of vitiligo are skin discoloration or white spots, which lack the melanin pigment.
Autoimmune diseases, such as vitiligo, are diseases in which the body itself attacks its own tissues and organs. In the case of vitiligo, the body itself attacks certain melanin cells in the body and causes a disruption in the secretion of melanin, resulting in the appearance of white marks or hairs. The causes of an autoimmune disease vary, but have been shown to be mainly due to bacteria, toxins, and environmental or psychological factors. In individuals predisposed to vitiligo, the chances increase when the individual has an increased immune system response to physiological stimuli. In addition, it has been observed that vitiligo is a multifactorial disease, as its occurrence is due to a multitude of factors.
The most recent theory on the causes of vitiligo is that the immune system is the most important. In particular, as has been shown in other autoimmune diseases, mutations in immune system genes have been observed, which are thought to cause the destruction of melanocytes in the skin.