Vitiligo is an acquired condition that causes the skin to lose color. It is neither contagious nor life threatening. Besides on the skin, vitiligo can develop anywhere on the body that has pigment, such as the hair, inside the mouth or the eyes.
The exact cause is unknown, but genetic factors are thought to play a role. Vitiligo develops when cells called melanocytes that produce pigment die. Possible causes of the condition include:
The condition usually has no symptoms other than the loss of color in the skin. The affected areas of skin are not just lighter in color, but are depigmented (without any pigment) or chalk-white. Any part of the body can be affected but typical areas are the:
The main goals for treating vitiligo are regaining pigment in affected areas and minimizing the contrast between normal and affected skin, through sunscreen and sun avoidance.
Dermatologists at UCLA may recommend such treatment options as:
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.