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White patches on skin – What are they?

Dr Vivekananda Bhat

Dr Vivekananda Bhat

  Lavelle road, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   2 min     


White patches on skin, also known as vitiligo is a skin disorder wherein the skin losses its usual pigmentation/ color. Though medically it is not a very serious disease, the social stigma which is attached to it, makes vitiligo a matter of grave concern. This is especially so in case of brown and dark colored people. Not only does it effect their appearance, but also brings down the confidence level of the individual.So what exactly are the causes of white patches on skin? Vitiligo is usually caused by one of the following two processes:

1.Destruction of the melanin due to which skin loses its color resulting in white patches of vitiligo.

2.Defect in the formation of melanin, due to which no color is formed on the skin.

Along with these two causes, it has been seen that genetic factor too plays a very critical role in the emergence of vitiligo.

How does vitiligo spread?

Genetic factors undoubtedly play a critical role in deciding the magnitude of vitiligo. Along with it exposure to chemicals, continous stress and hormonal factors too play a vital role in the spread of vitiligo.

Though vitiligo is a common skin disorder and is observed throughout the globe, maximum cases have been seen in India and Mexico. Also this is a disorder which affects males and females alike. There are also cases wherein kids as young as three months have developed vitiligo.

Chances of recovery

This is one question which every vitiligo patient has in mind. There are several factors which determine the extent to which vitiligo can be cured. Here is a brief on it:

High probability of recovery

This happens in cases wherein the vitiligo development is just 2 years old. In case of kids as well as those patients who do not have a strong family history of vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases, the chances of recovery are very high. Also those who suffer from segmental vitiligo and have no history of cortisone use can easily recover from this skin condition.

Good chances of recovery

For those who have been suffering from vitiligo from past 2 – 5 years, but the white patches are less in number. Also the spots have not emerged on finger tips, lips and genitals. Along with this the sufferer should not have a strong family history of vitiligo and other auto-immune diseases nor a history of cortisone use.

In cases where the vitiligo has spread to a large part of the body and is around 10 years old, the chances of total recovery are bleak. Along with this if the tips of fingers, lips and genitals too are affected and the patient has used cortisone can also make it a little difficult for the sufferer to recover completely. Most of all genetic factors/ family history can hinder the complete recovery process of vitiligo.

Tags:  white patches,vitiligo,melanocyte transplant surgery,genetic, auto-immune diseases,

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