Skin Hypopigmentation: Vitiligo

Skin Hypopigmentation: Vitiligo

Main Image

At London Doctors Clinic, all of our experienced doctors are able to advise on various skin conditions, including issues regarding skin pigmentation - from too much pigmentation in the form of sunburn, to too little in the form of conditions such as Vitiligo, which today's blog will focus on.

 

What Is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin condition where patches of skin lose their pigment and become white. It can be unpredictable and range from single small patches to a total loss of skin colour. The pigment may return for some people but this is not guaranteed.

 

vitiligo-hand

Vitiligo is a skin condition where patches of skin lose their pigment

 

Causes of Vitiligo

It is a common condition and can start at any age. Vitiligo can affect anyone but is more noticeable in people with darker skin.

It is thought to be an autoimmune condition where the body rejects some of its own cells. In the case of vitiligo, the body rejects melanocytes which produce the pigment called melanin in your skin. 

 

Do I Have Vitiligo?

You might have vitiligo if you have irregularly shaped patches of skin that do not have any pigment in them - therefore, they look milky-white. Vitiligo is often symmetrical and therefore affects both sides. Common sites are the hands, face, body openings (the eyes, nostrils, mouth, belly button and genital regions), and within body folds such as the underarms and groin.

 

Is Vitiligo Contagious?!

Vitiligo is not an infection, and therefore it is definitely not contagious. You can not 'catch' vitiligo from someone who has it. It does, however, have some genetic aspect, whereby about a fifth of those with vitiligo know of someone in their family who also has it.

 

Diagnosing Vitiligo

At your appointment with your GP or private GP, your skin will be examined, possibly under a UV lamp if the patches are not as obvious.

As vitiligo is an autoimmune condition, blood tests may be ordered and performed to check for other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease.

 

Can Vitiligo Be Treated?

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for vitiligo. However there are number of options for treatment that can be discussed with your GP.

If no treatment is needed, then sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and cosmetic camouflage has been considered the mainstay of how to deal with vitiligo.

Other treatments for vitiligo include:

  • Topical steroids
  • Vitamin D topical treatment
  • Calcineurin inhibitors (a type of anti-inflammatory ointment/cream)
  • Phototherapy
  • Laser treatment (Excimer laser)

 

So if you've noticed any changes to your skin pigmentation recently that you would like to get checked out, why not pop into one of our 8 central London clinics for a future or same day doctor appointment, and get the advice and treatment you may require. LDC is always here for you when you're in search of a "doctor near me"! 

By Sakira Thangavel

Latest Posts

Archive