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Vitiligo

Vitiligo Definition and Overview

Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease in which there is a progressive destruction of the skin’s pigment-producing cells (melanocytes), resulting in areas of otherwise normal white skin devoid of melanin pigment. It is not unusual for hairs growing in areas of vitiligo to lose their normal color.

What Causes Vitiligo?

Patient Comments

There are poorly understood environmental factors that seem to interact with genes which predispose one to vitiligo. There are numerous theories as to the origin of vitiligo. A condition indistinguishable from vitiligo can be induced in some individuals after topical exposure to certain phenol-like chemicals. Vitiligo is not contagious.

What Are Vitiligo Risk Factors?

Although most cases of vitiligo seem to occur sporadically, as many as 20% of affected individuals seem to have a family history of this disease. Working in an industrial setting where there is significant exposure to phenolic chemicals may put individuals at risk.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2016

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PUVA Therapy and Vitiligo

There are a number of diseases where PUVA is of proven benefit, including psoriasis, mycosis fungoides (cutaneous T-cell lymphoma), and vitiligo. Occasionally, PUVA is also used to treat atopic dermatitis, chronic itching, and certain types of photodermatitis.



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