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Different types of vitiligo

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Vitiligo in arm

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  • Vitiligo has been divided into various groups and subgroups depending on the extent and the location of the depigmentation
  • Nonsegmental vitiligo is the most common type of vitiligo, affecting almost 80% of patients. It is characterized by symmetrical progression, with macules being well-circumscribed

The behavior of this disease widely varies across the population, and due to the different manifestations of this skin disease in patients, researchers have divided it to different categories and subcategories.

Vitiligo classifications

Vitiligo has been divided into various groups and subgroups depending on the extent and the location of the depigmentation.1

Two of the general groups of vitiligo are nonsegmental and segmental. These categories largely depend on the location and the extent of the skin condition. Segmental refers to when the macules respect the body’s midline, and the condition’s progression does not exceed or cross over to the other side of the body.2

Nonsegmental vitiligo is the most common type of vitiligo, affecting almost 80% of patients. It is characterized by symmetrical progression, with macules being well-circumscribed. This type can begin in any part of the skin, but is usually first observed in the fingers and the face.3 Nonsegmental vitiligo can further be divided into subgroups, namely:4

  • Acrofacial — Macules are often found on the hands, feet and face, typically in the perioral area.
  • Mucosal — Depigmented areas are typically found on the lips, mouth or the genitalia.
  • Universal — The depigmented areas make up almost 80% to 90% of the skin.

Contact or occupational vitiligo is another type of vitiligo that is now being studied. It refers to the apparent bleaching because of direct contact with chemicals that can destroy the melanocytes in the skin. These chemicals usually contain derivatives of catechols and phenols. However, researchers have also noted that contact vitiligo may be a subtype of generalized vitiligo because of the progression of depigmentation.5

Segmental vitiligo progression to mixed vitiligo

While mixed vitiligo is not yet part of the classification, there have been numerous cases where both segmental and nonsegmental vitiligo are observed in a single patient. In most of these cases, patients start off with the development of segmental vitiligo in their childhood years and then eventually develop generalized vitiligo in a span of months or years. Some of the risk factors that researchers have noted were the presence of halo nevi, or moles surrounded by depigmented patches, and leukotrichia, or the gradual loss of pigment in hair.6

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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