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Vitiligo

A disorder in which the immune system destroys pigment-making cells called melanocytes. This results in white patches of skin on different parts of the body.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

About Vitiligo

Vitiligo (vit-ill-EYE-go) is a pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes (the cells that make pigment) in the skin are destroyed. As a result, white patches appear on the skin in different parts of the body. Similar patches also appear on both the mucous membranes (tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose) and the retina (inner layer of the eyeball). The hair that grows on areas affected by vitiligo sometimes turns white... NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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Treatments for vitiligo

Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder characterised by patchy loss of skin colour. Some people experience itching before the appearance of a new patch. It affects people of any age or ethnicity, more than half of whom develop it before the age of 20 years. There are two main types: generalised vitiligo, the common symmetrical form, and segmental, affecting only one side of the body. Recent genetic research suggests that generalised vitiligo is, at least in part, an autoimmune condition which destroys melanocytes (pigment cells). Although our understanding of vitiligo has increased, its causes are still poorly understood. Several treatments are available. Some can restore pigment but none can cure it or prevent its spread or recurrence. Vitiligo patches can have a major psychosocial impact, especially for people with dark or tanned skin or when the face or hands are affected. People with vitiligo can be stigmatised, often experiencing low self‐esteem and a lack of self‐confidence. Children with vitiligo may be teased and bullied at school. Despite this, we found only one study assessing psychological therapy for vitiligo.

Efficacy and safety of tacrolimus and pimecrolimus ointment on vitiligo

Bibliographic details: Wu Y, Liu Y B, Zhu X, Dong G H, Gu X C, Gao X H, Chen H D.  Efficacy and safety of tacrolimus and pimecrolimus ointment on vitiligo. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2009; 9(7): 788-795

Efficacy and safety of tacalcitol and calcitriol on vitiligo: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Wu Y, Liu Y B, Liu J L, Dong G H, Xu Y Y, Li Y H, Gao X H, Chen H D.  Efficacy and safety of tacalcitol and calcitriol on vitiligo: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2009; 9(6): 681-689

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Summaries for consumers

Treatments for vitiligo

Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder characterised by patchy loss of skin colour. Some people experience itching before the appearance of a new patch. It affects people of any age or ethnicity, more than half of whom develop it before the age of 20 years. There are two main types: generalised vitiligo, the common symmetrical form, and segmental, affecting only one side of the body. Recent genetic research suggests that generalised vitiligo is, at least in part, an autoimmune condition which destroys melanocytes (pigment cells). Although our understanding of vitiligo has increased, its causes are still poorly understood. Several treatments are available. Some can restore pigment but none can cure it or prevent its spread or recurrence. Vitiligo patches can have a major psychosocial impact, especially for people with dark or tanned skin or when the face or hands are affected. People with vitiligo can be stigmatised, often experiencing low self‐esteem and a lack of self‐confidence. Children with vitiligo may be teased and bullied at school. Despite this, we found only one study assessing psychological therapy for vitiligo.

Selenium supplementation for Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common disease in which a form of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland results in reduced function of the gland. It is an auto‐immune disorder, which means that a person's own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, so that it no longer makes adequate quantities of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Common clinical manifestations include feeling cold, depressive mood, dry skin, puffy eyes, constipation, weight gain, slowed heart rate, joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Some but not all people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have an enlarged gland, also called a goitre. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more common in women than in men and tends to run in families. Other auto‐immune diseases often occur simultaneously, such as vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes type 1. The disease does not always require treatment, but when it does, it is treated with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (sometimes desiccated thyroid hormone is used, which is not synthetic). Selenium is an essential trace element that is required in small amounts for correct functioning of the immune system and the thyroid gland.

More about Vitiligo

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Other terms to know:
Melanin, Melanocytes

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