What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo (pronounced vit-ill-EYE-go) is characterized by white patches on your skin. The condition occurs when skin loses pigment producing cells,melanocyte, which produces melanin, the pigment that determines the color of the skin, eyes and hair. It is more noticeable in people with darker skin. Vitiligo can start at any age, but it normally occurs in younger age (less than 30).
Melanocytes in the skin are eventually destroyed in vitiligo, as a result white patches of various sizes appear on the skin in different parts of the body. Similar patches also appear on the mucous membranes (tissues that line in the inside of the mouth and nose) and the retina (inner layer of the eye ball). In some patients, the hairs that grow on the vitiligo affected areas become white. Vitiligo does not have any specific time for its appearance; it can appear any time during one’s life time, but it normally occurs in young age (less than 30). It occurs in all skin types and at all ages and with equal frequencies between men and women. However, it is more common in people with darker skin. Vitiligo doesn’t cause any physical impairment but, it is emotionally and psychologicaly devastating disorder. Incidence of vitiligo is believed to be between 0.5% and 2% of the world population on an average, but local numbers in some parts of the world may vary drastically. Gujarat, India is considered to have the highest prevalence in the world with 8.8% of the local people affected by vitiligo.
Nothing to worry! Be optimistic because, it is not true that there is nothing to do for vitiligo. In fact, just the opposite is true and research is going on all over the world to find the cure for vitiligo.