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A comprehensive file on Vitiligo in terms of: symptoms, types and treatment



Vitiligo is a disorder that affects the skin and appears on it smooth white patches, usually starting on the hands, feet and face. 

A comprehensive file on Vitiligo in terms of: symptoms, types and treatment
A comprehensive file on Vitiligo in terms of: symptoms, types and treatment

Its prevalence is low, as it affects about 10% of the world's population. 

The areas where there is vitiligo are called macules if their area is less than 5 mm, but if they are more than 5 mm they are called spots. 

The area affected by vitiligo becomes white in color and the color of the hair in it. 

Vitiligo occurs after the immune system destroys the pigment cells that produce melanin, the substance that gives skin its colour.

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Causes of Vitiligo

Although the direct cause of vitiligo is not clear, scientists have come up with several theories that explain the factors that lead to the appearance of vitiligo, namely:

  1. The immune system: it produces antigens that destroy melanocytes.
  2. Self-destruction: The melanocytes are damaged by a defect that causes them to self-destruct.
  3. Genetic factors: Heredity affects the transmission of vitiligo to later generations, as it was found that 30% of people with vitiligo have a previous genetic condition.
  4. Neurotrophic factors: Neurons release toxins toward melanocytes.
  5. Psychological and emotional state: Stress and physical and emotional fatigue may be one of the reasons for the occurrence of vitiligo.

Vitiligo Symptoms

  • The appearance of white spots in different areas of the body. 
  • Patches of hair turning white.
  •  Eyelashes and eyebrows discoloration. 
  • Discoloration of the mucous membranes inside the nose and mouth.
  •  Notice a change in skin color in skin folds such as the armpits.
  •  The appearance of vitiligo around moles.

Types of Vitiligo

  1. Partial Vitiligo: Vitiligo is localized in a specific area of the body, such as the face and hands. 
  2. Focal vitiligo: In this type, vitiligo is concentrated on one area only and does not spread to other areas. 
  3. Generalized Vitiligo: The discolored patches are scattered all over the body, and this is the most common type. 
  4. Global Vitiligo: This is the most rare type, the skin is affected by 80% of Vitiligo.
  5.  Trichrome Vitiligo: The skin is of a cow with a dark color, then a spot with a light color, followed by the original skin color.

Who are exposed to vitiligo?

Its prevalence is small, as it affects a small percentage of the world's population, equivalent to 1% or slightly more.

It affects all races equally, but is more pronounced in people with darker skin.

It affects both males and females 

age of onset of vitiligo

It appears in people aged 10 to 30 years. Vitiligo is rare in young children or
 the elderly.

How long does vitiligo spread on the skin

Usually, vitiligo appears on small areas that turn white, and it begins to spread to the rest of the body within several months.

 It first appears on the hands, forearms, face, and feet, although it can first appear in hidden areas such as: the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, genital areas, rectum, inner ears and eyes. 

The white spots may remain in place for years, but sometimes they enlarge and spread.

 The patches move from one place to another place after the passage of time, as the skin loses the melanin pigment and then restores it again, so the other place loses the pigment.

 Vitiligo spots differ from one person to another.

 There are people who have small areas of vitiligo, and people lose large amounts of skin pigment.

Is vitiligo painful?

The sufferer feels pain and burns in the places of the spots, especially when exposed to the burning sun, so it is important to protect the skin by using sunscreen, and not to be exposed to the sun during periods of intense rays.

Is vitiligo contagious?

No, vitiligo is not an infectious disease, and it does not pose a threat to its owner, but it is considered a skin problem that can cause embarrassment to its owner.

Is itching a symptom of vitiligo?

Yes, it has been reported that some people sometimes get itchy skin, even before the spots appear and the melanin pigment has disappeared.

Problems associated with vitiligo

Vitiligo is described as a cosmetic skin problem, although people with vitiligo may suffer from some problems, including:

  • Due to the loss of melanocytes, the white spots become more sensitive to sunlight, which results in burns and pain.

  • It is possible for some people with vitiligo to suffer from problems in the retina and iris of the eye, such as inflammation in one of them, and this does not mean that vision is affected.

  • Vitiligo increases the chance of some immune diseases such as: diabetes, hypothyroidism, alopecia, anemia.

  • (People with immune diseases are more likely than others to develop vitiligo.)

  • People's harassment and bad comments may cause feelings of embarrassment and the desire to isolate and stay away from others.

vitiligo treatment

The goal of treatment for this condition is to unify the color of the skin so that it becomes all one color, either by restoring the original skin color, or removing the pigment for the remaining areas.

  • Skin re-dyeing

  • Taking (corticosteroids) as pills or fats placed on the skin, used for three months until the results appear, with the doctor’s follow-up for any side effects that may appear during this period.

  • Immunosuppressants such as calcineurin.

  •  Vitamin D treatment.

  • light therapy

Ultrasound therapy two to three sessions per week, lasting for several months.

The Elixir laser, which is used for specific and light places, is the best treatment for mild vitiligo, which has fewer areas.

PUVA)) This treatment is used for large areas of vitiligo, and is an effective treatment for vitiligo on the hands, neck and head.

  • surgery

This is done by grafting the skin by taking a part of the skin and placing it in another part, but the surgery may result in some problems such as scars, infection and the failure of the operation itself.

Other treatments

  1. Use sunscreen to protect white spots from harmful rays.
  2. Make-up can be used to hide white spots.
  3. Dye the hair if the vitiligo has reached the hair of the head.
  4. The use of monobenzone and this treatment turns the color of the skin to white to suit white spots, It is used in extensive cases of vitiligo.
  5. Communicate with a psychiatrist to take advice to face critical situations.

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