Health Care

Disease That Changes Skin Color

Disease That Changes Skin Color

skin disorder that changes skin color


Vitiligo is a disease that changes skin color. In this disease, white patches on the skin appear and tend the infected areas of the body to be discolored. Any part of the body can be affected by this skin disorder. Usually, it starts from the hands, face, feet, or forearms. This skin disorder is around 1% of the population globally.


Sometimes, the destruction of melanocytes (pigment-forming cells) leads a person to vitiligo. Several pieces of research have been conducted on this problem, but the actual cause is still unknown. It might be due to

  • Autoimmune disease

Perhaps, the immune system of the person affected may develop antibodies that attack the body’s own cells melanocytes.

  • Genetic factors

It has been assessed that vitiligo might be inherited from ancestors. Research shows that around 30% of cases belonging to vitiligo run in their families.

Also, it might be triggered due to physical, emotional, or mental stress. All these factors combined can provoke the disease.

Symptoms and diagnosis of vitiligo

Decolored or white-colored patches appear on any specific area of the body, including hands, face, or eyes. The affected person can see those patches with naked eyes and feel stressed about the appearance. It is not a contagious or life-threatening disease.

These symptoms become the diagnosis of the problem for the doctor and the patient. There are abnormalities in the retinas of the infected people that cause inflammation in the iris or retina. Healthcare providers also use Wood’s lamp to diagnose vitiligo, in which UV light shines on the body and helps in differentiating with other skin colors.


There are several types of this disease that changes skin color, such as

  • Generalized

It is one of the most common types of vitiligo in which the macules (area of discoloration) appear in several places on the body.

  • Segmental

In this type of vitiligo, the discoloration can be restricted to any specific part of the body. Usually, it occurs on the face or hands.

  • Trichome

It is known as trichome because it affects the body starting with the white or uncolored center, then lighter pigmentation, and lately to a location of normal skin-colored.

  • Universal

Universal type of vitiligo is a rare type in which more than 80% of the body has a deficiency of color pigment.


Over several months, this skin disorder starts from a single white patch. It later extended over the other parts of the body. Usually, vitiligo begins from the hands or face and progresses to any body part, including inner ears, eyes, mucous membranes, etc. The study shows that larger patches do not extend to other parts of the body but stay at a single place for years. Small patches can shift from one part of the body to the other, whereas larger patches don’t. Vitiligo varies from person to person; few patients have the whole discolored areas on the body, while others experience a few pigment deficient areas.


There are several medications and therapies available to treat vitiligo. There is no cure, but it can be treated somehow. The purpose of the treatment is to produce a consistent and invariant skin tone. They can do it by either eliminating the remaining color, which is known as Depigmentation or restoring color, known as Repigmentation. Usually, the recommended treatments for the disease that changes skin color (Vitiligo) are Repigmentation therapy, Camouflage therapy, Light therapy, and surgery.

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