Vitiligo also called as ‘leucoderma’ is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system of the body attacks the healthy cells and in turn starts affecting the body. The condition is characterized by white patches on the skin that develops as a result of melanocytes within the skin. These are the cells that are responsible for the skin pigment melanin that gives color to your skin. The white patches appear when the melanocytes die off. The condition is also termed as Vitiligo or Leucoderma or White Leprosy.
• The appearance of pale/white spots, patchy areas of depigmented skin, generally in the area that is exposed to the sun • If a person already has white pigmentation and in case he gets hurt and develops similar white patches on the skin, it’s time to visit a doctor • The patches are generally painless and don’t cause itching or sensitivity, etc. However, when exposed to excessive heat or sweating, they may cause irritation and burning sensation • The lesions are prominent on the face, hands, and wrist. It is important to understand that vitiligo is not cancer and it is not life-threatening. The condition is nowhere associated with Leprosy. Some people also consider this as psoriasis which is characterized by patches on the skin. However, these patches are not white and are generally red, raised and inflamed spots on the skin. It is important to understand that Vitiligo doesn’t affect a person’s ability to perform day-to-day activities or innate talent. It is people’s perception of the condition that has brought a social stigma to this problem.
The actual cause of vitiligo is unknown. There are various reasons and theories associated with the disease. Here is a list of few factors that might cause vitiligo. • Genetics: Children whose parents already have vitiligo are vulnerable to the disease • Chronic Infection: In children, the condition might arise due to chronic infections like throat infection, stomach infection or anemia that require the intake of antibiotics that affect the immunity and result in an autoimmune disorder • Autoimmune disorder: In adults, the autoimmune disorder may result in thyroid which causes white patches • Alopecia Areata: An autoimmune disorder, alopecia also puts you at risk of developing white patches on the skin. • Halo Nevus: Also known as Leukoderma, it causes a halo around the mole developed on the skin starting from one part of the body it can spread out to other parts as well. • Chemical Leucoderma: It is mainly caused due to the chemicals e.g. Monobenzyl Esters of Hydroquinone which is found in beauty products like Bindis. Footwear made up of poor quality plastic may also result in white patches on the skin. • Chemical Exposure: Excessive exposure to chemicals such as rubber, plastic, etc. makes people vulnerable to vitiligo. Those who’ve undergone chemotherapy may also develop white patches over the period of time. Generally, the diseases that are caused due to bacteria or viruses are contagious and spreads through physical contact or air transmission but this is not the case with Vitiligo. It is not infectious or contagious and hence, cannot pass on from one person to the other through touch, blood, sexual intercourse, inhalation, saliva, or sharing of private things like towels, or using the same glass for drinking water. • Vitiligo does not aggravate by consuming milk, sour foods, and citrus fruits like lemons, lime, etc. or by drinking milk after having fish. Modern science totally negates this general perception • If you have white patches, try to avoid using chemical rich beauty products such as deodorants, perfumes, hair dye, etc. The white patches spread by high chemical exposure.