Vitiligo Symptoms You Should Know About

Man with vitiligo

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  • The start of this skin disease is often characterized by the development of macules, which are small discolored spots on the skin. Due to the contrast in color, cases of vitiligo are more observable in people who have tanned or darker skin
  • The first signs of vitiligo usually manifest in people who are in their late adolescent years or in their early 20s

The main symptom of vitiligo is the loss of pigment in certain portions of the skin. Due to the contrast in color, cases of vitiligo are more observable in people who have tanned or darker skin. The white patches are also more pronounced in the summer when people usually get tans from sun exposure.

The first signs of vitiligo usually manifest in people who are in their late adolescent years or in their early 20s. However, this does not mean that vitiligo is limited to people in this age bracket.1

Additional Symptoms of Vitiligo

Vitiligo usually starts with the loss of color on the sun-exposed portions of the skin. While the color of these parts changes drastically, the texture and sensation are usually unaffected.2

However, an increased sensitivity to sunlight is usually observed because of the absence of melanin, which functions as a protection against the sun. It is highly recommended to cover and protect your skin from sunburn if you’re affected by this skin condition.3 Aside from skin depigmentation, some of the other symptoms of vitiligo include the following:

Loss of color in hair, eyelashes or eyebrows. Premature graying of hair has been observed to be caused by vitiligo.4 People oftentimes develop a white streak on their eyebrows or eyelashes because of the loss of pigment in the hair follicles. Hair growing on the affected parts of the skin can also lose its color over time, but this does not occur in all cases.5

Depigmentation of the tissues inside the mouth. The loss of melanin can also be observed in mucous membranes and mouth tissues.6 White vitiligo patches may develop on the lips as well.7

Color changes in the eyes. The melanocytes found in the eyes are also prone to damage during the onset of this disease. Thirty to 40 percent of vitiligo patients lose the pigment in the retinal pigment epithelium, which is responsible for providing eye color.

Eye inflammation. In some cases, vitiligo may be accompanied with uveitis, or the inflammation of the eyes. This usually affects about 5 percent of people affected by vitiligo. Researchers explain that this inflammation is often caused by the immune system attacking the healthy cells in the eyes.8

How Does Vitiligo Progress?

The start of this skin disease is often characterized by the development of macules, which are small discolored spots on the skin. This is often seen in the face first but may start in other parts of the body as well. Some accounts claim that depigmentation usually starts in areas of the body that are more commonly exposed to direct sunlight, including the hands, arms and feet.

There is no clear course for the progression of this condition because of the variations in the occurrence of vitiligo in patients.9 Researchers note that the spread of this disease may be predicted depending on the type.

Segmental vitiligo usually develops in an exclusive part of the skin and is then contained in that state. Non-segmental vitiligo, on the other hand, is more unpredictable. The patches typically spread to other parts of the skin, but they can also stay static for numerous years.10 The timeframe for the spread of this skin condition is unpredictable, too. As a progressive disease, vitiligo sometimes takes years before affecting a considerable amount of skin. But in some individuals, it can develop at a faster pace.11

MORE ABOUT VITILIGO

Vitiligo: an Introduction

What Is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo Symptoms

Vitiligo Causes

Types of Vitiligo

Vitiligo Treatment

Vitiligo Prevention

Vitiligo Diet

Vitiligo FAQ

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