Vitiligo

A skin condition of unknown causes resulting in the progressive loss of pigmentation (melanocytes) from the skin. Onset may be at any age but is more common in adolescence and young adulthood.

A genetic predisposition to the condition is likely. Approximately 30 % of patients have a family history with a parent, sibling or child having the condition. An auto-immune link also plays a role in Vitiligo development and an association has been observed with auto-immune disorders including diabetes mellitus and thyroid conditions.

It is a chronic condition with a rapid onset, which is then followed by a relative period of stability or a slowed progression.

The lesions are usually symmetrically distributed “white” patches of varying size and number. The borders are sharply demarcated and there may be some heat or burning sensation, especially after exposure to the sun. The hairs that grow in these patches may also turn white.