What are the causes of Vitiligo?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 12, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Vitiligo occurs when melanin producing cells die.
  • Melanin provides the hair, skin, and eyes their colour
  • Loss of melanin leads to white patches or discoloration of skin.
  • Heredity, sunburn, and exposure to chemicals can cause vitiligo.

What is Vitiligo?

A condition in which the skin starts losing its color leaving spots behind is known was vitiligo. The extent to which the skin can lose its colour cannot be determined
Any part of the body can be affected with the disease. It can even spread in your hair, eyes, and mouth.

The colour of the hair, skin and eyes is determined by the quantity of melanin in the body. But, when a person suffers from vitiligo the melanin producing cells either die or stop functioning.

People of all skin types can be infected with vitiligo however, it is more evident in people whose skin tone is darker. Although the condition poses no threat to your life but, it can make the person lose confidence in himself. The treatment can make the condition better but, it cannot be cured fully.

Vitiligo Causes


The primary symptom of the disease is the loss of colour of the skin or white patches on different parts of the body. The pigmentation first starts occurring on body parts which are more exposed to sun like hands, arms, feet, face, and lips.
The symptoms include:

  • Discolouration of the skin
  • Hair on your scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes starts turning grey
  • Tissue inside the lining of the mouth and nose star losing its colour
  • Patch formation around armpits, navel, genitals, and rectum
  • Although vitiligo can occur at any age but, mostly it occurs before the age of 20.

Causes of Vitiligo



Vitiligo occurs in the body when the melanin producing cells die or stop producing melanin. Melanin is the pigment which provides your hair, eyes, and skin its colour. Although the exact reason behind its occurrence is yet to be determined but, the probable reasons behind it can be:

  • When the melanocytes in the skin are attacked by the immune system, vitiligo occurs.
  • Due to heredity
  • Sunburns, stress, or exposure to chemicals

Any of these reasons could trigger the condition.

People suffering from vitiligo can be at a risk of leading a stressful life or even suffering from skin cancer. It is always better to treat disease as soon as it has been diagnosed.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Vitiligo.

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