Vitiligo affects 7.5 million people in the United States.* The chronic skin condition occurs when skin pigment cells die or are unable to function and the skin loses its pigment. The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown. Recent research proposes that the condition is a multifactorial disease and that both genetics and environment play a role.
Vitiligo is characterized by patches of pale, depigmented skin. Typically, these areas occur on the extremities. The affected area is generally small, but grows over time. The extent that vitiligo can appear and cover a person’s body depends on the type of vitiligo. Patients looking for help with vitiligo should always consult and work with a medical professional.
While a common skin condition, patients suffering with vitiligo may feel helpless and stigmatized. As with any condition that impacts a person’s appearance, feelings of depression can be common and vary in intensity. There is no cure for vitiligo, but treatment is available. Phototherapy, for example, helps many people struggling with vitiligo.