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Conditions

Vitiligo

Vitiligo on a hand

Vitiligo is a surprisingly common condition, affecting 1 in 100 children and adults, and causes pale, white patches to develop on the body where the skin has lost its pigmentation. This occurs when a particular area of skin has little or none of a type of pigment called melanin, which is the dye-like substance in the skin cells (melanocytes) that gives skin colour and protects it from the sun’s rays. As a result, sufferers have a greatly increased risk of skin cancer, and the patchy appearance of the skin can also be a great cause of distress. Vitiligo is incurable and can spread on a person’s body, but is not contagious. It affects people of both sexes equally, all races, and can begin at any age, though about fifty percent of people with the condition develop it before the age of twenty five. But you’re not alone. Ever wondered what those white patches in Graham Norton’s hair are? It’s vitiligo!

Watch the Live from the Clinic interactive case video on vitiligo >

If you’re suffering from any of the conditions featured on this site and want to apply for an onscreen consultation with one of the EB team then you can find more details here >>

Remember that you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

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Any good spray tan cover for sufferers of black origin





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Hey I have developed vitilito when I was 23 and since one year the patch grew significantly large, I really got stressed out and my self esteem got very low, nothing is taking my mind off from me freaking out, there are days I cried all night reason is being I got really scared I consulted doctor and with biopsy skin test and manual checkup she conformed it must be vitilito and recommend me with two lotions Tacrolimus and melgain both lotions She explained me about the skin condition and the first thing she asked me to was DONT BE STRESSED it is indeed curable ... I am having hypothyroid one the main reason to be dignolised with the skin condition What I am doing I stopped eating meat (for the sake of hypothyroid) I started to dance half hour And started to drink green juice ( cucumber, mint leaves, and parsley) Avoiding sour food Well we can't help what we are going to dignolised with its something out of our control But what is in our control is to treat it right and sacrifice few things in my case some of my favorite food I had to stop eating. Family support will help a lot





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Hi I've found tiny white patches on both my arms could this be vitiligo?





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I've had vitiligo since I was 3/4 it started after a holiday to grande caneria. I now have it on around 30-40% of my body I'm 23 years old. I'm no longer bothered about it, however, for around 5 years the spread holted and stayed the same. But just recently in the past year,it has started to spread again, even more rapidly than it ever has before. I now have it on my entire hands and feet, smalls patches all the way up both legs. Armpits arms face privatesand even a patch in my hair. The only area it hasn't effected yet is my back.I've tried many things to possibly help that are good for skin including coconut oil and red clay etc, experimenting to see if any natural remedies work.





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What is the treatment that had given you such great results. Thank you!





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I got vitiligo when I was 5 (I am now 40 years old) after my parents divorced and when very stressed more patches can appear and at its worst 60% of my body was white. I have been having narrow-band UVB phototherapy 3 times a week for 7 months and only hands and feet show vitiligo and these are filling now. This is my 3 rd year of treatment and although after treatment some patches do come back the majority of them have gone. But remember this is not a cure and it does not work for everyone.





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I am 49 years of age and are suffering with vitiligo for the past 10 years. There were no significant patches during this time except on my finger tips until 2011 on my hands. Being dark skinned complicates the matter and since it is still small patches I would like to attend to it but needs some advice as to the type of diet or pigment transplant as was indicated once on EB program. Please help.





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Sir I am suffering from vitiligo since last 25 years .I am 34 years old now. Mainly lips , fIngers and toes are affected. Sir only 3 % of my body is covered. Sir I need proper treatment from you. Thanks Bimal.





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Yes but why also is it so itchy and some on my upper arm they are like flat red patches





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I've had it since I was 6. It started as a large patch of white on my back that just appeared one day. I'm 19 now and since then I have it on my neck, feet, hands, knees, stomach, privates and nipples. It doesn't really bother except when I get a new patch. This really upsets me. I am super worried about getting it on my face. I'm pretty pale anyway so it wouldn't be that noticeable, but it would to me.





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Vitiligo is a chronic condition that causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin. The areas affected have little or no melanin. Read More »

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