Normally, the color of hair and skin is determined by melanin. Vitiligo occurs when the pigment-forming cells (called melanocytes) are destroyed by the immune system, causing a loss of pigmentation in the skin. The disease affects people of all skin types and both genders. Patients with vitiligo often have a family history of the condition. Vitiligo may be more noticeable in those with darker skin. The extent and rate of color loss from vitiligo is unpredictable and it can affect the skin on any part of your body, especially sun exposed skin, body folds, close to moles, and at the site of a previous skin injury. It may also affect hair and the inside of the mouth.
Vitiligo can be permanent and there is no known cure or prevention. However, there are some treatments that can be used to improve the appearance of the skin, including steroid creams and ultraviolet light therapy. While vitiligo is not life-threatening or contagious, it can have a harmful effect on self-esteem and mental health and cause added stress. Therefore, proper treatment should be sought.