What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a disease of skin pigments called melanin. It is a disease where there is a loss of skin pigment or color, which could be due to various reasons. Vitiligo affects about 2% of world population and close to 8% of the Indian and Mexican population. Vitiligo is not a serious disease, medically speaking. It has more social significance than medical importance, as it does not cause any major harm to the body. Cosmetically and personally, it can affect lives of the suffers especially in that society, where the color of skin is given importance; especially among brown and dark skin people.

Vitiligo is commonly misspelled as Vitilgo, Vitligo, Vitilligo, Leukoderma. Vitiligo is called as Safed daag in Hindi and Kod in Marathi.

Causes of Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a disease of which the exact cause is not fully understood. However, there is increasing understanding of the processes involved in the development of Vitiligo. In most cases, there are multiple causes responsible for vitiligo. However, there are theories suggesting

b. Hormonal connections: Affection of certain hormones such as Thyroid hormones or Melanocyte Stimulating hormone may be responsible for vitiligo. Also, the simultaneous occurrence of vitiligo and other hormonal disorder suggest underlying genetic factor.

  • c. Genetic tendencies
  • d. Neural theory
  • e. Autocytotoxic theory
  • There are factors, internal and external, which either predispose or trigger or maintain the process which leads to the development of vitiligo. In most cases, more there may be a mix of causes.

    The familial incidence of 20 to 30% is observed in the family members. If one or more of the parents have vitiligo, there are more chances of one developing the same. However, it is not a rule. At the same time, numerous cases of vitiligo do not have a relevant family history of Vitiligo.