Vitiligo: symptoms, causes and therapy


You have white spots on the skin? Then vitiligo could be behind the pigmentation problem. We clarify about the skin disease.

Vitiligo: definition

Vitiligo, also known as white spot disease , is a non-contagious skin disease. It is based on a pigmentation disorder in which the melanocytes responsible for the darkening of the skin are destroyed . The disease is characterized by white, clearly limited patches on the skin noticeable. Skin areas such as face, hands and feet are especially affected.

Vitiligo: symptoms

Typical symptoms of vitiligo are lens-to-coin sized, sharply demarcated or irregularly shaped white patches on the skin that primarily affect the following areas of skin:

  • back of Hand
  • Finger extensor
  • elbow
  • knee
  • navel
  • Face: mouth and eye area
  • Anal and genital area

The depigmented areas can later merge into each other in a vitiligo and thus form larger areas.

Even itchy skin can occur with a white spot disease. Also, the skin is particularly sensitive to light and sun burns due to the lack of pigments, resulting in increased UV protection is necessary. Otherwise, the vitiligo remains without physical discomfort . Since patients find the white patches on the skin aesthetically disturbing, it can lead to a great suffering.

The white spot disease usually manifests itself in connection with other diseases such as

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroiditis)
  • pernicious anemia (certain form of anemia)
  • circular hair loss
  • diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases

Vitiligo: causes

The specific background of vitiligo is not completely known. In addition to a hereditary predisposition, the following causes play a role:

  • Autoimmune disease (dysregulation of the immune system): destruction of melanocytes (melanin-producing cells of the skin)
  • psychological stress
  • Skin stress such as severe sunburns, skin injuries or local skin damage ( psoriasis )

Skin pigmentation disorders can also be caused by other causes such as skin fungus infections. Please absolutely ask the doctor to clarify.

Vitiligo: treatment

The white spot disease is not curable and worsens without treatment. However, different therapeutic approaches are aimed at the re-pigmentation of the skin. Good results can be achieved with the following methods:

  • Use of  cortisone-containing ointments
  • Phototherapy using UVB radiation about two to three times a week. Ingestion of vitamin C, ubiquinone or ginkgo biloba may be helpful during phototherapy.
  • Skin transplantation of healthy melanocytes
  • Camouflage creams and make-up that temporarily cover the stains
  • Bleaching the remaining pigmented skin to match the skin tone to that of the white spots
  • stress reduction