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Vitiligo: causes, signs, treatment of vitiligo spots on the skin

White spots on the skin, especially noticeable in dark-skinned people, are an unpleasant cosmetic defect, provoking a decrease in self-esteem and difficulty in communicating with other people. Vitiligo suffers up to 1% of all people.

And although this skin disease is completely non-infectious, it can signal serious disruptions in the human body. At the same time, the possibility of transferring the genes responsible for the development of vitiligo to subsequent generations is not excluded.


Vitiligo - what is it?


Vitiligo is a disease in which in certain areas of the skin the pigment melanin completely disappears, giving color to the skin. At the same time on the affected areas, the skin completely discolored, which is most noticeable in dark-skinned people.

Periodically appearing white-milky spots have a diverse shape and are capable of peripheral growth and gradual fusion. The hairs growing on white spots also fade. There are no skin lesions (cracks, peeling). Often white spots spontaneously disappear and reappear - the disease is chronic, recurrent in nature.

Most often, vitiligo (leukoderma) first appears at the age of 10-30 years. The disease is more often diagnosed in brown-eyed people, blue-eyed and green-eyed people are less susceptible to this skin pathology.

Leucoderma can occur anywhere on the skin, including the scalp and neck, beard and mustache in men, and the crotch area. On the face of vitiligo appears white spots on the nose, on the cheeks. However, most often bleached lesions occur on the hands, elbows and knees. Cosmetic discomfort is experienced by those patients in whom vitiligo is localized on the face and open areas of the body.

According to the localization of depigmented lesions, there are several types of leucoderma:

  • Mucosa - lesion of the mucous membranes;
  • Segmental - damage to the skin, innervated by a separate spinal or cranial nerve;
  • Focal - 1-2 white spots on different skin areas;
  • Generalized - damage to the face and extremities (acrofascial vitiligo), focal skin lesions on the whole body (vulgar vitiligo, with a lesion of more than 80% of the skin - total vitiligo).

Causes of Vitiligo - Why do spots appear?

The true cause and the actual mechanism of focal depigmentation of the skin is completely unclear. However, doctors identify several factors that favor the development of leucoderma:

  • Autoimmune failure - the immune system begins to produce antibodies that destroy melanin;
  • Genetics - the inheritance of a gene responsible for the development of vitiligo does not indicate the innate nature of the disease and does not guarantee 100% incidence;
  • Endocrine pathology - serious fluctuations in the hormonal background of a person (diseases of the ovaries, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pituitary gland) can provoke depigmentation of the skin;
  • Disturbed trophic skin - burns, injuries that trigger the scarring process, form foci of vitiligo on the affected areas, and the autoimmune component of the recovery process leads to the spread of pathology;
  • Gastrointestinal tract and liver - impaired absorption in the intestines leads to a lack of minerals (manganese, zinc, magnesium, copper) necessary for the synthesis of melanin;
  • Toxic effects - some drugs, poor-quality cosmetics and household chemicals containing phenol and formaldehyde, can cause leucoderma.

White stress can be triggered by a stressful situation, an infectious disease, intoxication (for example, at work), mechanical damage to the skin (including prolonged friction), tanning, and regular skin contact with synthetic tissues.

Vitiligo can occur against the background of a chronically occurring process in the human body and even with helminthic invasion .

Symptoms of vitiligo, photo, initial stage

Symptoms of Vitiligo

Symptoms of vitiligo, photo

Vitiligo Symptoms photo 2 The diagnosis of leucoderma is based on characteristic skin changes. Signs of Vitiligo:

  • Bleached spots first pinkish, then milky white (less often with a bluish tinge);
  • The contour of the round spots is often somewhat pigmented, which causes more contrast;
  • Foci are capable of peripheral growth and fusion;
  • Often, small foci of hyperpigmentation occur within bleached spots;
  • Sometimes there is a raised shaft on the edge of the spots;
  • In the bleaching zone, perspiration is reduced, the hypofunction of the sebaceous glands is noticeable;
  • On the affected areas, the hair becomes discolored;
  • White spots react poorly to cold and other stimuli (reduced muscular and vascular reflexes).

There are several stages of the course of vitiligo:

initial stage

vitiligo photo initial stage

vitiligo photo initial stage

1-2 small spots of 0.2-0.3 cm in size appear on the body. Foci of skin discoloration are hardly noticeable and often remain without proper attention. Depending on the characteristics of the organism, the disease can go into any of the following stages.

Stationary stage

The blot that appears for a long time does not increase in size, new foci do not appear.

Progressive stage

The progression of the disease is indicated by the appearance of new depigmented spots, the growth of the nidus that appeared during 3 months. A sudden increase in the size of long-formed spots. The development of leucoderma can be either slow (new foci appear within a few months) or lightning-fast (an increase in the size and number of spots within a few weeks).

Repigmentation stage

Bleached foci partially or completely restore a healthy color. However, repigmentation is most often observed when vitiligo occurs on the basis of medication or temporary exposure to chemical agents.

With endocrine disorders in the body and chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, Vitiligo spots regress extremely rarely.

With a long course of vitiligo, alopecia areata (focal alopecia) and earlier graying are often observed. Often joins scleroderma , lichen planus, various types of dermatitis and psoriasis.

Vitiligo in children

Leucoderma is extremely rarely diagnosed in children under 10 years of age. The disease most often affects girls in adolescence. The important role played by the increased emotionality of the child. Frequent stressful situations, negative experiences not only provoke leucoderma debut, but also contribute to its progression.

The clinical picture of vitiligo fully coincides with the manifestations of the disease in adults.

Vitiligo in a pregnant woman does not affect the development of the fetus and does not guarantee the appearance of the disease in the newborn. White spots in a young child often indicate the development of atopic dermatitis , multi-colored lichen or psoriasis .

  • These diseases from vitiligo distinguishes the presence of peeling.

Vitiligo treatment, drugs

Vitiligo treatment

Treatment of vitiligo, photo before and after

Although cases of complete recovery from vitiligo, a reliable method of treatment that restores the function of melanin synthesis and completely eliminates the recurrence of the disease, are sometimes recorded, doctors have not yet invented. However, treatment of vitiligo is necessary for the prevention of exacerbation and the prevention of major changes in the body.

The treatment scheme includes:

  • In the localized form (lesion area not more than 20%) - ointment Hydrocortisone , Triacort, Esperson, Ftorocort, if they are ineffective, prescribe Sinalar, Tacrolimus, Dermoveit, Elok;
  • With the generalized form - shown corticosteroids tablets Dexamethasone, Prednisolone, Triamcinolone (with long-term use suppress the immune system and increase the risk of diabetes!);
  • Ultraviolet Theapy - narrowband (with small foci) and broadband (more efficient) with a course of 20-100 sessions of 2-3 procedures per week;
  • Photosensitizing agents (combined with ultraviolet therapy) - to increase the sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation, they prescribe Beroxan, Meladinin, Psoberan, Metoksalen (there are a number of serious contraindications!);
  • Irradiation of foci with a laser or monochromatic light - gives the best result than narrow-band ultraviolet therapy, the course - 20-60 sessions;
  • Vitamin and mineral complexes - must contain Vit. E and C, group B, pantothenic, folic and alpha lipoic acids;
  • Placental preparations (Melagenin plus) is most effective for localized vitiligo;
  • Transplantation technologies - donor skin transplantation with ultraviolet activated pigment synthesis, melanocytic autotransplantation - are not available to all patients due to the high cost;
  • Mandatory treatment of concomitant pathology of the endocrine glands and gastrointestinal tract.

Treat vitiligo at home is mandatory with a diet that restores metabolism and saturates the body with iodine, iron, copper and zinc. In the food as much as possible include seafood and fish, buckwheat, walnut, legumes, figs, cherries, parsley, apricots, celery and pear.

If possible, avoid prolonged sun exposure and any skin trauma.

Frequently asked questions about vitiligo

Often people avoid contact with vitiligo patients due to the complete lack of knowledge of the disease. And many patients with leukoderma try to mask the skin defect with cosmetics. Everyone who has encountered (himself or in the family) with vitiligo should know the answers to the following questions.

Is vitiligo transmitted, is it contagious?

The definitive answer is no, under no circumstances is it contagious. Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder, not an infectious disease.

What is dangerous vitiligo?

Leucoderma - a sign of a serious disruption of the body. Vitiligo patients are more susceptible to the development of diabetes mellitus, thyroid pathology, psoriasis and alopecia, and immune disorders. Often, this disease reduces vision (progressive myopia).

And most importantly - an inferiority complex can cause long-term depression and significantly affect the personality of the person.

What means to treat vitiligo?

Most often, the treatment is based on an individually selected course of corticosteroids in the form of an ointment or tablets.

However, the best result is achieved only with complex therapy - with drugs, laser therapy or ultraviolet irradiation, taking photosensitizers, vitamins and diet. Be sure to complete the treatment of concomitant diseases.

Is it possible to get rid of vitiligo, what is the duration of therapy?

To achieve the effect, a properly selected treatment regimen is carried out for 6-12 months. However, with long-term current therapies do not give even minimal effect in 20% of patients. Spontaneous recovery occurs only in 5% of cases.


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