Types of vitiligo
There are two types of vitiligo: segmental and non-segmental.
Segmental vitiligo is characterized by rapid spreading but has more stability. Segmental vitiligo affects the areas of skin which are attached to nerves. The condition can be treated well through topical treatments.
It is the most common type of vitiligo as it accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the cases. The patches appear symmetrically.
The appearance of flat white patches on the skin is the only symptom of vitiligo. The spots appear mainly in the exposed areas. It starts as a simple pale spot, but with time it progresses to white color.
The patches are irregular and sometimes show a slightly reddish color. The person may experience itchiness in these areas. They usually do not cause any discomfort, soreness, or dryness in the skin. The pattern of development in different patients is also quite different. While some people may see the development of only a few spots, some people may see the development of a large spot that goes on progressing.
Though the exact causes of vitiligo are unclear, there are several factors which may trigger the condition –
- An overactive immune system which starts destroying the melanocytes.
- Critical sunburn or cutting of the skin
- Exposure to certain chemicals
- Imbalance in the genetic oxidative factors
- A neural problem
Vitiligo is not a contagious disease; it can’t be passed from one person to another person. Though it can occur at any age, it is commonly known to strike at the age of 20 years.
The treatment comprises of the following –
Using sunscreen can relieve the problem as the lighter patches are especially sensitive to sunlight. Consult a dermatologist for a suitable type.
Phototherapy with UVB light
Another common treatment is exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) lamps. It requires a small lamp which can be used daily at home. If you don’t want to buy it, then you need to visit the clinic, this will need 2 to 3 times a week.
Phototherapy with UVA light
The treatment consists of exposure to UVA light ,it shows effect after 6 to 12 months of biweekly sessions.
It is used in cases of mild vitiligo.The patient camouflages the white patches by using colored creams which matches their skin tone.
Corticosteroid ointments are steroid containing creams .These stop the aggravation of the condition.
What do you mean by symmetrical vitiligo?
It refers to the development of vitiligo develops in a generalized way with bilateral characteristics, (if a vitiligo patch appears on one side, it often appears on the other side about the same time).
Do the vitiligo patches get bigger with time?
In many cases, vitiligo does progress slowly over time, while in some cases it does not. In some cases, people see a repigmentation without any treatment at all.
Is there any itching in the white patches?
Some patients do experience itching while some do not.
Are having white patches on the underarms, feet, and genitals a common thing?
Some organs are commonly affected by vitiligo while some are not. Underarms, feet, and genitals are more sensitive to this condition. It may be due to the presence of sweat glands and many nerve endings in these areas.