A lot of us came to the knowledge of vitiligo in the last two years but still a good number of people do not have basic information about it and do not also bother to do any researches. Well congratulations because the research has been done and brought in handy for you.
Vitiligo is a condition whereby cells responsible for skin coloration are destroyed. The cells (melanocytes) no longer produce skin pigment (melanin). This results in whitening or color loss of affected areas.
These affected areas can be anywhere, such as:
- Hands, feet, arms and face
- In the mouth
- Back of the eye
- In the ear
- Body folds
Before we go further, note that vitiligo is not contagious and therefore cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
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The basic symptom is the appearance of white patches on the skin. They can be segmented or generalized.
- Segmented: the patches appear small and stay focused in one area or part of the body in a segmented/focal pattern. It usually goes on for a year or two then stops, also spreading more slowly than the generalized type.
- Generalized: this is the most common pattern. The patches are spread all around the body in a symmetrical pattern. It affects pigment cells anywhere on the body. It usually comes and goes severally over the course of a person’s life.
Vitiligo risk factors
Although family history is not a cause, it is known to be a risk factor for having vitiligo or other autoimmune disorders.
Another risk factor can be having vitiligo-related genes like NLRP1 and PTPN22.
Several researchers believe vitiligo to be an autoimmune disorder because it causes the body to attack its own cells but this attack is also seemingly unclear. Experts have also reported that it can appear after incidents of extreme sunburns or cuts, elevated stress level and exposure to chemicals and toxins.