What causes vitiligo?
The precise cause of vitiligo is not well understood. The white areas appear due to loss of the pigment (melanin) that gives skin its color and protects it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Factors such as stress, physical illness, skin damage, certain chemicals and drugs, pregnancy and severe sunburn may trigger or worsen vitiligo.
It remains unclear what causes damage to melanocytes and their subsequent total inactivation and/or disappearance in vitiligo skin. There are several theories; the most prominent are autoimmune, neurohumoral, related to abnormal detachment of melanocytes from the epidermal layers and autocytotoxic. None are mutually exclusive, and it is likely that each of them partially contribute to the disease development.
The current thought is that vitiligo represents a group of different disorders with a similar outcome: the appearance of white patches on the skin.
The convergence theory states that stress, accumulation of toxic compounds, infections, autoimmunity, genetic predisposition, altered cellular environment, and impaired melanocyte migration can all contribute to the vitiligo initiation process. Autoimmune mechanisms are likely to underlie generalized vitiligo, while a more localized phenomenon (i.e. the altered activities of sensitive nerves in the skin) may be responsible for segmental or focal vitiligo. A site of a skin physical trauma may develop vitiligo; it is called a “Koebner phenomenon.”
Abstract from Vitiligo Q&A »»»
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What is coming?
XXIII Master Class in Cuba
will be held as a part of INDERCOS Winter Meeting, in collaboration with Cuban Vitiligo Support and Research Group. International and national expert speakers will di...16 November 2017 09:00, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Habana, Cuba
High-level Meeting on the Asian and Pacific Decade of People With Disabilities
The UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in cooperation with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF), is organizing the High-lev...27 November 2017 09:00, Beijing, China
Why there is no drug for vitiligo yet?
Despite the dearth of medications available to treat psoriasis - a disease with similar prevalence numbers and impact on quality of life - vitiligo has no known cure o...
What tests should be done?
No tests are usually necessary to make the diagnosis. The white patches may be seen more easily under Wood's light examination.
Are there any famous people with vitiligo?
Many celebrities have dealt with vitiligo while remaining in the public eye, maintaining a positive outlook, and having a successful career. Here are a few courageous ...
Who is prone to vitiligo?
Vitiligo affects 0.5-2% of the population, and occurs in all races and all social levels. Vitiligo can affect people of all ages, but often starts between the ages of ...