What is vitiligo?

People get vitiligo when their body attacks its own melanocytes, the cells that give our skin, hair, and other areas of the body color.

These cells live in the skin, hair, lips, mouth (inside of), nostrils, genitals, rectum, eyes, and inner ear. When the body attacks them, the result can be a few light-colored patches on the skin. Others see widespread loss of skin color. Hair can develop a white streak. This can happen to hair anywhere on the body, including the top of the head, an eyebrow, or eyelash. If the body attacks these cells in the inner ear, the person may develop hearing loss.

What causes vitiligo?

What causes the body to attack these cells is not entirely understood. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease. These diseases happen when the person’s immune system mistakenly attacks some part of the body.

How do you treat vitiligo and should you have it checked?

We now have more treatments than ever before that can help restore lost skin color. New medications, improved light treatments, and advances in surgery are giving patients better results. There are some implications that can happen with vitiligo. For instance, having a white forelock in your hair may increase the risk of developing hearing loss. White spots that look like confetti on the skin may mean a higher risk of developing a different autoimmune disease.

Other conditions related to vitiligo

There are some implications that can happen with vitiligo. For instance, having a white forelock in your hair may increase the risk of developing hearing loss. White spots that look like confetti on the skin may mean a higher risk of developing a different autoimmune disease.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck. Some people who have vitiligo develop thyroid disease. A blood test can tell whether your thyroid is working as it should.

“Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life.”

Reno Tahoe Dermatology serves Reno, Sparks, Spanish Springs, Sun Valley, Lake Tahoe in Northern Nevada & East California.

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