It is a type of skin disease characterized by well defined hypopigmented / depigmented macules due to absence or decrease in melanocytes.
It can occur at any age, the most common age being between 10 – 30 years.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition wherein the body produces antibodies against the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes.)
Positive family history is present in around 5 – 20% of patients with vitiligo.
Vitiligo can affect all parts of the body, though sites prone to friction and trauma (elbows/ knees) are more frequently affected.
Mucous membranes (lips, genital mucosa) can also be involved.
Generally there are two types of vitiligo
Non Segmental/ Generalised vitiligo
Vitiligo has a negative impact on the individuals psychosocial and emotional well being particularly in patients with darker skin, because of conspicuous contrast.
The main approach in treating vitiligo is to use modalities which can bring repigmentation and can be achieved in the vast majority of cases.
Treatment typically involves Medical treatment in the form of topical creams / lotions, systemic medication, laser therapy and phototherapy which have shown immense results in cessation of disease progression in progressive and active disease.
Surgical modalities are usually indicated in segmental vitiligo or lesions which are refractory to repigment with medical therapy.