Vitiligo is a pre-existing skin depigmentation and this affliction affects about 1% of the population. Vitiligo-caused depigmentation results from an autoimmune process that works against melanocytes.
The exact cause of vitiligo is not known yet. The genetic factor plays an important role in individuals who display this affliction. The age when this disease occurs more frequently is located somewhere between the second and the third decade of an individual’s life. There are plenty of forms of presentation such as autoimmune thyroiditis, pernicious anaemia, lupus, Addison disease.
The diagnosis is a clinical one and it consists of the visualisation of the depigmented lesions. Sometimes, Wood lamp exam may be useful for closely observing the depigmented area in patients with very light skin. Due to the fact that this affliction is closely related to thyroid disorders and other autoimmune diseases, lab tests are recommended.
The treatment is based on the repigmentation of the area by using sunscreen, especially when it comes to patients that display phototype I and II. By preventing tan, the contrast between the depigmented areas and the normal skin decreases.
The repigmentation of the skin will occur as a result of corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors, as well as phototherapy. In rare cases, in patients with extended lesions, they can make use of a procedure named depigmentation.