Happy World Vitiligo Day!
Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition characterized by portions of the skin losing its pigment. It occurs when skin pigment cells die or are unable to function. Aside from cases of contact with certain chemicals, the cause of vitiligo is unknown.
Research suggests vitiligo may arise from autoimmune, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. Vitiligo is typically classified into two main categories: segmental and non-segmental vitiligo. Half of those affected show the disorder before age 20, though most develop it before age 40.
The global percentage of people affected with vitiligo is less than 1%, with some populations averaging 2–3% and rarely as high as 16%. Autoimmune diseases such as Addison's disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes mellitus tend to occur more often in people who have vitiligo. There is no known cure for vitiligo but many treatment options are available, including topical steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, and phototherapy.
The only sign of vitiligo is the presence of pale patchy areas of depigmented skin, which tend to occur on the extremities. The patches are initially small, but often grow and change shape. When skin lesions occur, they are most prominent on the face, hands and wrists. The loss of skin pigmentation is particularly noticeable around body orifices, such as the mouth, eyes, and nostrils.
There is no cure for vitiligo but several treatment options are available.
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