Vitiligo is a skin disease characterized by the appearance of white patches on various parts of the body and face, scalp and mucous membranes.
Skin and hair colour in humans is mainly determined by the type and amount of melanin. In people with vitiligo, there are disturbances in the immune system that trigger mechanisms of self-destruction of its own melanin-producing cells.
Approximately 30% of people with vitiligo have a relative with the same disease. Vitiligo is most often triggered by a stressful event.
White patches can appear in small areas of the body (eyelids, around the mouth, fingers) or cover large areas of the body (generalized vitiligo). Although seen as a cosmetic problem, for certain patients (e.g. adolescents) vitiligo can contribute to serious psychological trauma and social isolation.
Since melanin is the main protector against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays, it is desirable to use sunscreen on the affected areas in spring and summer.
Vitiligo is a non-contagious skin disease that can develop at any age. In about 30% of cases it is associated with autoimmune thyroid disease. The treatment aims to restore the lost skin color, but cannot guarantee stopping further development of the disease and the appearance of new spots.
What is the treatment of vitiligo?
The treatment of vitiligo is a long process that requires repeated treatments with UVB phototherapy and the intake of a complex of vitamins, antioxidants or low doses of interleukins, in combination with medicated creams. In more therapy-stubborn spots, laser-assisted drug administration can be applied.