Vitiligo is a condition that appears on a persons skin as white patches. It can appear all over the body but is most common on the hands, arms, feet and face.
We still don't really know what the cause of vitiligo is. It's believed that is may be an autoimmune disease, and that your body begins to attack the melanocytes in your skin. These are the skin cells that create skin pigmentation (or color).
The condition can also occur in the muccous membrane, which includes the inside areas of the nose and the mouth.
It's believed vitiligo is genetic to some extent. Which means it is more likely to affect people who have parents and grandparents who have experienced it. Most children of affected parents do NOT however suffer from it.
It does not matter however what age a person is. Many will get signs of vitiligo as early as their twenties. But both men and women can get it, as can any race. It is of course more visible however in people with darker colored skin.
Basically lighter or whiter patches of skin. This can be fairly small to start with but will tend to spread.
It may not spread however, and the speed at which it spreads or appears elsewhere on the body varies greatly. In some people it spreads quickly whilst others it takes years.
If you think you are experiencing these symptoms, always go to your doctor first. They are the only people who will be able to tell you for sure if you do have vitiligo.
When you go to the doctor, you will be asked a variety of questions. They will also do some tests and a physical exam. Some of the tests may involve an eye exam, blood tests or possibly performing a biopsy on an affected area of your skin.
The good news is that there are numerous treatments for vitiligo. These treatments range from simple camouflage or concealment techniques, or might be as simple as applying skin whitening creams to the skin surrounding the affected areas to help minimize the overall appearance. Or there are many other medical and surgical approaches too.