Vitiligo is a fairly common skin pigmentation disorder in which the pigment-producing cells in the skin are damaged. This causes defined patches of white skin which may appear in one of several areas and spread over time. Although some information is known about the basic mechanism of vitiligo and its cause, the specific cause is unknown and the condition has no cure.
Information. Skin and hair color are determined by melanin but the skin disease vitiligo disrupts melanin by causing the skin cells that produce melanin to become damaged or die. Vitiligo affects about 1-2% of people across all ethnic groups, although it’s most visible in people with darker skin tones. Vitiligo comes in several forms, all of which cause white patches of skin on the body. Generalized vitiligo, the most common form of the disease, causes discolored patches on many parts of the body that progress symmetrically. Segmental vitiligo refers to white patches on just one part or one side of the body. This form usually occurs at a young age, progresses for a short period of time, then stops progressing. Localized vitiligo causes only one or a handful of white patches on the body. While vitiligo is not contagious or life-threatening, it can cause embarrassment, anxiety, and depression.