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What Is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo causes skin patches by making pigments disappear sporadically. These patches grow bigger as the condition progresses. It affects any skin-covered area of the body, even the tongue & hair.

The condition is neither contagious nor fatal & has no cure. Sometimes, the afflicted skin’s colour may return with treatment. However, it doesn’t stop further skin colour loss or recurrence.

Vitiligo affects about 0.5% to 1% of people worldwide. However, many cases are undocumented, leading some researchers to believe the actual affliction rate to be up to 1.5%.

This article explores the condition & how it affects the human body.

What Causes Vitiligo

Scientists consider vitiligo an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its tissues.It occurs when a portion of the immune system begins to target & kill the skin’s melanocytes, which causes white patches to appear.

Why does the immune system of the body ever target healthy skin cells? Although the answer to this topic is still up for debate, it appears likely that both genetics & environmental stimuli contribute.

The following factors are known to increase the risk for vitiligo:

Family History & Genes

A specific genetic profile increases the risk of developing vitiligo. In a study, about 20% of patients had at least one close relative with this skin condition.

Vitiligo appears in over 30 gene variations, including NLRP1 & PTPN22. These play a role in inflammation & immune system modulation.

Environmental Triggers

According to a paper in F1000 Research, potential triggers include sunlight, exposure to particular chemicals, & stress or injury to the skin. These catalysts can also cause vitiligo in those who already have the condition to spread.

An Existing Autoimmune Disease

Vitiligo is common in people with specific autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes, thyroid illness, & rheumatoid arthritis.

People with Hashimoto’s disease or alopecia areata are also more likely to develop the condition.


The emergence of light or “depigmented” patches on the skin is the most obvious indication that someone may have vitiligo.

Melanin is the skin’s natural colour pigment, & areas with little or none appear as pale patches.

These spots may initially occur on exposed skin, such as the arms, face, feet, & h&s, but they can appear elsewhere on the body.

However, it’s not unusual for white spots to develop in the armpits, belly button area, & groin.

Other signs of vitiligo can include:

Premature greying or whitening of the hair
Eyebrows or eyelashes turning white & losing colour
Colour alterations in the retina of the eye
Inflammation of the eyes or ears, which causes visual issues & hearing loss

The location, spread, & growth of skin patches are not the same among patients.

There are two forms of vitiligo.

Non-segmental Vitiligo

Vitiligo typically manifests as pale skin patches on both sides of the body. The earliest symptoms may appear on the h&s, wrists, eyes, lips, or feet. This form is also known as bilateral or generalized vitiligo or Vitiligo Vulgaris.

Experts classify the subtypes of non-segmental vitiligo by its manifestation. These include localized or focal vitiligo, which only affects a small portion of the body. Acrofacial Vitiligo affects the h&s, feet, & face. Mucosal Vitiligo affects the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, & genitals of the patient.

The last category is Universal Vitiligo which affects 80 to 90% of the person’s skin.

Segmental Vitiligo

About 16% of vitiligo patients have segmental vitiligo. Early childhood can reveal the onset of segmented vitiligo. It could move swiftly for six months to two years before stopping. Years later, under extraordinary circumstances, this kind of vitiligo may recur.

Additionally, you can have mixed vitiligo. This combines segmental & non-segmental vitiligo. Vitiligo can cause psychological suffering, which can become something else if overlooked.

Many vitiligo sufferers experience issues with confidence, self-worth, & social anxiety. It is more challenging if the condition affects regions of the skin that are difficult to cover up with clothing or conceal with cosmetics.

How to Prevent Vitiligo

While there is currently no method to stop vitiligo from developing, there are things you may use to prevent symptoms from getting worse. Patients should use sunscreen, look for shade, & wear clothing that blocks UV radiation to shield their skin from the sun & UV light.

According to the AAD, getting tattoos & sustaining cuts, scrapes, or burns can cause patches of vitiligo in certain people. In general, strive to keep your skin from becoming hurt.

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Anna Smith
Anna Smith
Dr sarah really takes her time and has patience , being a anxious person she makes sure im carm before starting treatments and takes her time to explain what shes doing. I am happy with the filler treatment she has done for me .
Beth Nolan
Beth Nolan
I have been a returning customer to Artistry Clinic for a number of years. My first treatment was for nose reshaping, I was so happy with the results, I have since returned multiple times and have expanded to receive other filler based treatment. I am always made to feel comfortable and have absolute confidence in the results every time.
Isabella Read
Isabella Read
This was my first visit. All staff were very polite and pleasant. It makes such a difference when people are pleasant and respectful towards you. They were all very helpful, though they could know the immediate area around the clinic better for directions. Dr Shah herself was lovely. I look forward to having treatment.
Aisha Dickins
Aisha Dickins
I've been to see Jen at the Renown House/Bury Street clinic twice now. Both times she's been patient, sympathetic and encouraging and she really knows her stuff when it comes to the various treatments and options available for each skin condition. She's always happy to talk through any concerns or worries you have with either the treatment or your skin, and the clinic is always clean and well presented. I've seen improvement in my skin already and I'm looking forward to going back for another visit in the future!
Anony Mous
Anony Mous
I have been seeing Dr Sarah Shah for almost 4 years now, she has provided me with a multitude of treatments over the years, and I have always been very pleased with the results. I would highly recommend her services which is why I have been such a longstanding customer. I am a real perfectionist, so its hard to find someone that shares my vision and that was just what I found in Dr Shah! I am certain you will not be disappointed with whatever treatment you seek to have with Dr Shah-she will certainly put you at ease and give you a lot of time to ensure you are happy with the results!
Studio Manager
Studio Manager
I discovered Sarah in 2013 and have never looked back. Her aesthetics are brilliant (Botox and recently the 8 point lift face lift .. both of which left me feeling rejuvenated, lifted but 'natural' .. a perfect balance) Likewise the aftercare (follow-up appointment) is amazing ... you are given as much attention as the initial consultation and Sarah's job is not done until she knows you are happy with the results! Thank you Sarah .. thank you team
Colin W
Colin W
I always see great results. And never any discomfort from injections as Sarah always ensures plenty of time for the anaesthetic cream to take effect. You never feel rushed & Sarah & the clinic staff are welcoming & knowledgeable. The clinic itself is 3 mins walk from Aldgate tube. I thoroughly recommend a visit.
Lorraine Suzanne
Lorraine Suzanne
I have been to see Sarah 3 times this year for fillers. I have on each occasion had an excellent experience. I have always been seen on time, I didn't feel rushed and plenty of time and consideration was taken with my treatment. She was able to give thorough explanation of what she was doing and why and how I could get the most optimal results from my treatment going forward. There was no pressure or hard sell or making me feel like I needed anything!! (except that my experience was so good that I can't wait to go back!). I have been to a few places in London for similar treatment, all reputable. But I felt most confident in Sarah Shah's clinic.

Say Goodbye To Vitiligo Today

Embrace Beautifully Uniform Skin and Bid Farewell to Vitiligo!

At our clinic, we are dedicated to helping you achieve even-toned and flawless skin by addressing vitiligo. These depigmented patches can impact your skin’s appearance and self-confidence.

Request a consultation to explore our personalised vitiligo treatment options and embark on your journey to radiant and confident skin!


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