Symptoms of Vitiligo
Dr Vivekananda Bhat
Lavelle road, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
All of us are born with Melanocyte, the job of which is to manufacture melanin pigment in the skin, there are two types of cells in the epidermis the Melanocytes and the keratinocytes, the Melanocyte manufacture the pigment melanin which is then stored in the keratinocytes the storage cells in the skin.
So how is it that skin color varies from person to person and also in our own bodies some areas have different skin color like the lips, nipples, is because the Melanocytes in different areas are destined to lay down a particular level of melanin, this is what causes the skin color to vary.
The Melanocytes can also be stimulated with UV light like in sun light which causes more melanin to be produced, and this is what causes temporary skin tanning to occur, once the stimulation stops the cells do not manufacture melanin and the skin color tones down to your original level.
Vitiligo occurs when the Melanocytes are destroyed and hence the skin in that area stops manufacturing skin color and without Melanocytes all of us would be white in color, an exciting prospect for people who spend lot of money trying to become fair, but these same people become distressed when they see vitiligo on the skin.
Symptoms of Vitiligo
The only sign of vitiligo is the appearance of pale to white patches on the body, in some cases this can be preceded by itching on skin, after a new patch appears, it can
- Increase in size for varying periods of time.
- New patches can appear in other areas of the body.
- Injuries suffered during this period can turn white in color.
This is called the unstable phase of vitiligo a period of time when the disease is very much active inside the body, and can last for months to years.
The only treatment for spreading patches is medical, no surgical option is possible during this period.
Patches can appear on any part of the body may be single,or multiple, may be restricted to one half of the body ,or appear symmetrically on both sides of the body depending upon the pattern of vitiligo.
At times the loss of skin color can happen around all body openings like ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth, umbilicus, anus and penis.
Like I said before Vitiligo can produce either a single patch, few patches or multiple patches on the body, accordingly we can classify it on a simpler level which a common person can understand into