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What is Vitiligo

By at June 18, 2014 | 12:37 pm | Print

Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes loss of the color of one’s skin or hair due to dead pigmentation cells in the skin. Pigments are what give’s the skin and hair there color. A person with vitiligo will have spots of white skin all over their body. Some of these spots around the person’s hair can also cause the hair to lose its color. When the pigmentation cells die the skin or hair starts to turn white because they no longer have that pigmentation that gives it color.

The cells in the body produce melanin; this is what gave the pigmentation or the color of the skin, hair, and even a person’s eye color. The reason for the discoloration is because the cells that create melanin can no longer make the melanin or the cells themselves die. When the spots first forms it starts off small and, if not treated, it will then gradually get bigger as time goes on.

Even though this disease affects the hair it is still considered a skin disease. The reason being is that the pigment cells around the hair are damaged. Then the hair is no longer able to hold its true color because it no longer has that pigmentation around to help it.

There is no one way to know exactly what causes a person to have vitiligo. Although, a person whom has eczema has a higher chance of developing the disease. The reason being is that the person will scratch and pick at their skin more often; this scratching and picking could, and in many cases, cause the damaging of the skin cells.

Vitiligo affects every race; it also does not affect any one age group. However, it is more noticeable with people who have darker skin. It does not start in any one specific place, it could start everywhere. It could start at a person’s hands, feet, back, legs, arms, and even around the skin of some one’s eyes. Vitiligo does not really run in families, some people might get the disease but have to family history of the disease. While in other cases a parent might have passed on the disease to their children.

There really is no exact cure for vitiligo. Although, one can stop the spots from getting bigger and, possibly, get their get their skin color back. Some people cannot stop the spread of vitiligo; others can by using ointments that have steroids in them. The ointments help by bring pigments from other areas of the skin to the area of the color lost to regenerate the color. Now the steroids help by give the ointment a little bit of a boost. But, when using an ointment with steroids the patience is advised to be careful. They usually start out with an ointment with steroids for the boost and then switched to an ointment later without the steroid. They are also advised to only use small amount of the ointment.

Another treatment is light therapy; this process is slow but effective. The therapy can be given through a machine or just by tanning in the sunlight. Some people are able to use tanning beds to help tan these areas of where the discoloration is. The light therapy helps with the process of giving the skin its color back. It starts on the outer edges of the spot and will work its way in until the spot has disappeared. The methods listed above can help stop and reduce vitiligo in the hair; however, the easiest solution is to dye the white patches or spots of the hair.

 

References

http://www.niams.nih.gov/%5C/Health_Info/Vitiligo/default.asp

http://www.news-medical.net/health/Melanin-What-is-Melanin.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/condition/vitiligo/multimedia/vitiligo/IMG-20007404

 

 

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