Vitiligo is a skin condition affecting both men and women. It is characterized by white patches on the skin and can be very embarrassing. While the cause of the condition is unknown, scientists and doctors have theories as to what leads to vitiligo.

Possible Causes of Vitiligo

Some believe autoimmune disorders may play a role, while others point to family history, as the condition has been known to run in certain families. Some experts point to instances of emotional distress or trauma, while others believe bad sunburns are to blame. Patients who notice white patches on their skin should speak with a skincare professional to inquire as to what may have caused their symptoms.

Seeing the Doctor

While the symptoms of vitiligo may be treated by various types of skincare professionals, a physician should be consulted for diagnosis. Only a licensed doctor can prescribe certain medications as well. Certain medical tests may be performed to determine if the patient is suffering from autoimmune disorders, and these should only be performed by a licensed physician. Be prepared to answer questions about your medical history, family history, symptoms and disclose any medications you are taking. Certain treatments may be performed by an esthetician, nurse or other trained skincare professional.

Symptoms

The main symptom of vitiligo is white patches on the skin. They may appear on only one area of the body or may be on several areas all over the body. They may also be confined to one half of the body. Some patients may notice premature whitening of the hair, eyebrows, eyelashes or irises as a result of vitiligo as well. Patients are strongly encouraged to see a doctor upon noticing any of these symptoms, as they may be a sign of a more serious autoimmune disorder.

Treatment for Vitiligo

Various topical treatments are available including topical corticosteroids and topical immunomodulators. Ultraviolet light may be used in combination with certain topical treatments as well to create a pink appearance that should turn into a more natural skin tone upon healing. Surgical methods are also available. Skin grafting has been used to cover white patches with normal skin from other areas of the body. Tattooing may also be used, although the tattoo pigment may not be an exact match to the patient's skin tone. Also remember that tattooed skin will not tan. Sunscreen and cosmetic camouflage may also be helpful in lessening the contrast between white patches and normal skin. There are several informational resources that offer further information. Skincare professionals are the best resources, while SkinCareGuide.com offers further information on the subject.