What causes vitiligo?

Vitiligo occurs when your own immune system attacks the cells in your skin that make pigment. Vitiligo is not contagious. Some families appear to be more susceptible to vitiligo, suggesting that the condition may have a genetic component.

What are the risk factors for vitiligo?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing vitiligo. Not all people with risk factors will get vitiligo. Risk factors for vitiligo include:

  • Addison’s disease (decreased production of hormones by the adrenal glands)
  • Family history of vitiligo
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Pernicious anemia (decrease in red blood cells due to poor vitamin B12 absorption)

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a somewhat common condition in which areas of skin lose their pigmentation, resulting in white patches. Vitiligo can occur at any age and primarily affects the skin of the face, hands, feet and genitals. The patches often appear more pronounced in people with darker skin.... Read more about vitiligointroduction


What are the symptoms of vitiligo?

Symptoms of vitiligo include the formation of white patches on your skin. The patches can develop slowly or appear suddenly. The skin on and around these patches feels totally normal. Once a white patch appears, it may or may not remain white. The patches usually have irregular borders and most often are found on the face, hands, feet and genitals.... Read more about vitiligosymptoms


How is vitiligo treated?

Treatments that may lessen the progression of vitiligo or decrease the symptoms of the condition include both medical and surgical approaches, as well as specific medical procedures. Consult with your physician or dermatologist to determine what measures are appropriate for you.... Read more about vitiligotreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

Top Features in Skin, Hair and Nails

15 Ways To Get Better Medicine

People who are actively involved in their medical care stay healthier, recover quicker when they're ill, and live longer, healthier lives.