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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit one of our London clinics to find safe and effective solutions for your skin.
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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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