What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin disease in which there is a progressive loss of pigment-producing cells – melanocytes, resulting in areas of the skin being left without pigment melanin.

What are the symptoms of vitiligo?

One of the typical symptoms of vitiligo is the appearance of discolored patches in various areas of the skin.

In its early stages, vitiligo usually appears as small, light or white patches that gradually increase in size.

These spots can be one or more and are unevenly located on the body.

At first, symptoms may be more noticeable on areas that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, and neck.

Over time, the discolored spots expand and merge with each other, affecting larger areas of the skin.

The progression of vitiligo can be unpredictable, and symptoms may stop developing or continue to progress.

While the main symptom of vitiligo is discoloration of the skin, some affected individuals may also experience other skin-related problems.

For example, the sensitivity of discolored areas to sunlight may increase, making them more easily sunburnt.

This can lead to discomfort and health risks when exposed to the sun.

For this reason, people with vitiligo are often encouraged to use sunscreen and protect themselves from intense sunlight.

Also, vitiligo can affect the psychological well-being of affected individuals.

Due to societal stigmas and aesthetic prejudices associated with the disease, people with vitiligo may feel socially isolated or experience low self-esteem.

Psychological support and consultation with a psychologist or psychotherapist may be helpful for these individuals to cope with the emotional aspects of the illness.

What causes vitiligo?

One of the main theories about the cause of vitiligo focuses on hereditary factors and the immune system.

According to this theory, genes inherited from close relatives may increase an individual’s susceptibility to developing vitiligo.

The immune system plays a key role in the development of the disease, as immune cells are thought to attack and destroy melanocytes – the cells responsible for melanin production.

This process is called an autoimmune reaction and leads to the formation of discolored spots on the skin.

The environment can also play an important role in the development of vitiligo.

Exposure of the skin to various chemical substances and extreme environmental conditions can contribute to the activation of autoimmune reactions and the development of vitiligo.

Some studies have looked at the possibility of a link between certain chemicals and the development of the disease.

For example, research has been conducted that shows that certain phenolic chemicals that are used in various industries can cause the development of vitiligo in people with a predisposition to the disease.

One of the environmental hypotheses is related to stress and trauma.

There are theories that physical and emotional stress, as well as trauma to the skin (for example, burns, injuries, etc.), can be linked to the activation of the immune system and accelerate the development of vitiligo.

Family history may also influence the perception of vitiligo risk.

In about 20% of cases, a family predisposition is found, which may indicate the presence of a hereditary component.

However, even with familial cases, the exact genetic basis of vitiligo still remains poorly understood.

Treatment of Vitiligo

The treatment of Vitiligo is largely dependent on what part of the skin is involved. It is unlikely that if the discoloration is more than 5-10% of the skin surface, then topical therapy would not be effective.

Modern clinical therapy usually consists of taking or directly administering medications that suppress inflammation.

Most often strong topical corticosteroids are very helpful in cases of limited vitiligo.

Care should be taken to limit the use of these drugs for a certain period of time due to the possibility of side effects with excessive use.

Another way of treatment is with calcineurin inhibitors such as tacrolimus. These drugs have a more beneficial effect and are safer with long-term use.

Using certain lasers that emit light in the ultraviolet spectrum can also be effective.

In patients where vitiligo has involved larger areas of the skin, exposure to ultraviolet rays between 290 and 320 nanometers in length can be effective.

Exposure to long-wavelength light above 320 to 400 nanometers, combined with the intake of certain drugs called porphyrins, induces pigment production in some of those affected.

Multiple exposures over a long period of time are required to obtain optimal results.

All of these methods are local and it is possible that new areas of skin with a lack of pigmentation may appear during the treatment, although in others the darkening of the skin has started as a result of treatment.

This means that the therapy should also cover depigmented areas.

If you have had the misfortune of having your skin completely discolored, you may want to consider using medications that contain hydroquinone to kill the few remaining melatocytes.

Although most dermatologists do not accept this method of treatment, some of them claim that they can cure vertigo by changing your diet by completely eliminating sugar from your diet and in about 3 months the pigmentation is recovering, and according to you, your desire to heal is very important.

Prevention of vitiligo

Although official medical practice considers that there is no way to prevent vitiligo, recent clinical tests establish a link between the emotional state and the appearance of the discoloration.

And so don’t take whatever happens to you so seriously, that way you won’t become emotionally destabilized.

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