Vitiligo is a skin disease of unknown etiology, in which there is local white areas of the skin resulting from pigment loss at the bottom. A pigment called melanin determines skin, hair and eye color and is produced in cells called melanocytes. If these cells die or cannot produce melanin, the skin becomes lighter or completely white. Any part of the body, most commonly the face, the lips, the hands, the arms, the legs and the genital areas, can be affected. It affects 1% of the world’s population and affects men, women and all races equally. Although they can be seen at any age, they usually start before the age of 20 and there is a 20% patient family story. Vitiligo does not originate from any internal organ disease, it is not contagious.
The reason for this is unknown, but there are four main theories:
There may be a genetic abnormality that causes damage to melanocytes.
Pigment-producing cells can destroy themselves. When pigments are made, toxic products can be produced and melanocytes can be destroyed.
Abnormal functioning nerve cells can secrete toxic substances that can damage melanocytes.
The immune system of the body can break down melanocytes, the pigment can be perceived as a foreign body and destroyed. In Vitiligo the body makes autoantibodies against its own melanocytes and damages them; the same autoantibodies can cause damage to other organs, such as the thyroid. For this reason, other autoimmune diseases may occur simultaneously with vitiligo.
Vitiligo can be triggered by sunburn. In light-skinned people, the difference between vitiligo and normal skin is more pronounced in the summer, while in darker skin vitiligo is more noticeable all year round. The differential diagnosis of these white areas is made by a dermatologist. The wood light examination made in the darkroom is an auxiliary diagnostic method. The white areas that are formed on the deer can be seen not only in vitiligo but also in other diseases. Skin biopsy can be taken if necessary for definitive diagnosis.
In the treatment
Creams: Cortisone creams are suitable for the age and area of involvement, especially those used early in the cortisone creams are useful.
However, for a long time, non-dermatologic use can lead to many side effects such as thinning, vascularization, pimples, hairiness. Creams containing tacrolimus and pimecrolimus: Can be used under the control of the dermatologist in treatment.
Phototherapy (light therapy), grafting, depigmentation therapy, sun protection, camouflage recommendation and psychological support may be needed.
Vitiligo has no relation to the diet, but healthy nutrition is also important in vitiligo as recommended in all cases.
The disease course and severity varies according to the individual; it usually slows down, progress can sometimes stop and go on again; it can cover the entire body in severe cases. Some patients come back with some colour, and rarely recover completely spontaneously.