What is vitiligo ?

 Vitiligo is a skin condition that leads to damage and loss of melanocytes, which produce melanin, which gives skin its dark color. White plaques or spots, that can be found on any part of the body, appear in vitiligo.

It occurs in 0.5-1% of the population and affects both sexes at all ages and all races.

It is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology.

Vitiligo often coexists with various other autoimmune diseases such as:


Thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism, Graves’ thyroiditis)

Pernicious anemia

Gyroid alopecia

50% of cases occur before the age of 20 years.


The progress of the disease varies from patient to patient. In some patients it may occur with only a few spots. In others, almost the entire surface of the skin may be affected.


The diagnosis is based on the patient’s history and clinical examination.

Patients with vitiligo are at increased risk for other autoimmune diseases, especially those involving the thyroid gland. For this reason, patients with vitiligo should be monitored and evaluated by their doctor.

Treatment may not be necessary in cases where the disease is limited or does not bother the patient.


Treatment for vitiligo should be done under the supervision and monitoring of a dermatologist with experience in this disease. Patients should not use topical medications or phototherapy on their own.

There are topical treatments, phototherapy or a combination of them.

The skin in areas with vitiligo is unprotected from sun radiation due to the absence of melanin. For this reason it is more vulnerable to sunburn. Thus the use of sunscreens with a high protection index (at least greater than 15) is necessary.