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Understanding The Symptoms Of Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a skin disease where an individual loses skin pigment or color in blotches. For individuals affected by vitiligo, the pigmentation loss is not predictable and can occur on any body part covered by skin. Skin color comes from cells that produce melanin. With vitiligo, skin cells that make melanin stop working or begin to die off. Individuals of all skin types can be affected by vitiligo, but it is more apparent and noticeable in those with darker skin. Vitiligo does not pose life-threatening health risks and cannot be spread to others. Most individuals with vitiligo first experience symptoms before reaching their second decade of life. Predicting the behavior or progression of vitiligo can be a challenge. Vitiligo may be caused by a genetic mutation, skin cancer, sunburn, industrial chemicals, or the immune system attacking melanocytes.

Loss Of Skin Color In Patches

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The hallmark symptom of vitiligo is the loss of pigment on the skin that causes an individual to develop milky-white colored blotches on one or more regions of their skin. This form of depigmentation most often originates in regions where the skin has been frequently exposed to the rays of the sun, including the lips, face, arms, hands, and feet. Three different types of depigmentation occur in vitiligo patients. Focal depigmentation occurs when one or a few areas of the skin on the body are affected. Segmental depigmentation is characterized by the loss of skin color that occurs on just one side of an individual's body. Generalized depigmentation occurs when the loss of skin pigment occurs in widespread fashion across the entire body. Most discolored patches that develop in vitiligo are symmetrical. Discoloration of the skin from vitiligo occurs evenly among both genders and is most likely to manifest between the second and third decade of a patient's life.

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