Vitiligo is a disease produced by lack of pigmentation on the skin in certain parts of the body which often leads to loss of skin colour in patches.
It is not contagious or life threatening, howbeit it can tamper with self esteem, physical appearance and make you feel bad about yourself.
Ordinarily, the colour of hair and skin is determined by melanin.
However, Vitiligo occurs when cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning.
This skin condition is not limited to a certain race as it affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin.
It can affect the skin on any part of the body including hair and the inside of the mouth. Also, the discoloured areas usually get bigger with time.
Although the main cause of Vitiligo is unknown, it primarily occurs when pigment producing cells die or stop producing melanin. It is also hereditary as it can be transferred from the genes of a parent with Vitiligo.
Other factors that trigger the emergence of this skin condition Include: disorder of the immune system (autoimmune condition), a trigger event, such as stress, severe sunburn or skin trauma, such as contact with a chemical.
Presence of small white spots which grow with time is a major symptom associated with Vitiligo.
Other signs are: Patchy loss of skin colour, which becomes lighter and whiter; premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard; and loss of colour in the tissues that line the inside of your mouth and nose.
Initially, these symptoms often appear on areas such as hand, mouth, abdomen, armpit and neck.
However, they can spread to the other parts of the body.
Vitiligo has no cure, but treatment might stop or slow down the discolouring process, and also restore colour to the affected skin.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t prevent continued loss of skin colour or a recurrence.