Who is most at risk for vitiligo?

vitiligo - skindiseasehospital
  • September 24, 2022
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What is referred to as vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a medical skin condition, also known as Skin discoloration. Your skin will develop white spots as a result. Sun-exposed locations are particularly prone to this problem. Your entire body, from your head to your toes, is included. It can potentially irritate oral, nasal, and ocular cavities. Uncovered areas, such as the genitalia, are not immune, either. Vitiligo in infants is also quite common.

Early stage vitiligo symptoms that might indicate the condition:

Vitiligo is characterized by the appearance of white patches on the skin. Symmetrical patches on both sides of the body are more common. The white patches could be all over your body, or they could be localized to one side. The vitiligo may or may not spread with time.

Few other signs include:

  • In the place of white patches, the hair may turn white or gray.
  • White or gray hair on the head appears at an early age.
  • White hairs or facial hair.
  • Flaky white areas in your mouth

Who is most at risk for vitiligo?

People of all ethnicities and sexes can get vitiligo, but those with darker skin tones tend to have more noticeable symptoms. Vitiligo can strike at any age; however, it typically manifests between the ages of 10 and 30. Very young or significantly older people are not common vitiligo sufferers.

Though there is no exact known factor that might lead to vitiligo, there are quite a few risk factors that might increase the complications of vitiligo.

Mutations in the gene:

Variations in many genes enhance the chance of developing vitiligo. About one-fifth of people with vitiligo have a close relative who also has the disorder. It is true that having a relative with vitiligo increases one’s risk of developing the disorder; however, scientists believe that heredity is not the primary factor.

Various autoimmune diseases:

Studies have linked thyroid-targeted autoimmune disorders, like vitiligo, to the same genetic predisposing factors.

Although research is ongoing, one possible explanation is that people with vitiligo produce antibodies that attack and kill the skin pigmentation cells.

Environmental triggers:

Environmental factors, such as stress, harsh sunburn, skin trauma, or exposure to a strong chemical, seem to hasten vitiligo development in persons genetically prone to the disorder.

Triggers may also cause existing vitiligo skin to spread or advance in persons who already have the disorder. For example, the first signs of skin pigmentation loss may show up on an area of skin that has come in touch with chemicals or experienced skin trauma. Apart from these, vitiligo causes and prevention are not quite evident.

Lifestyle factors that can be the cause of vitiligo:

Though they are not the direct cause of vitiligo. But these lifestyle factors can collectively trigger vitiligo in individuals,

Skin damage or trauma:

A higher incidence of vitiligo has been linked to a history of intense sunburn, according to studies (commonly on the face, neck, and hands).

It is possible that vitiligo is more prevalent in areas of the skin that have been damaged by trauma, such as a deep cut or repeated rubbing, friction, scratching, or pressure.

Dealing with high levels of stress:

According to research, stressful situations, or ongoing emotional and physical stress, may play a role in the onset and progression of vitiligo.

Hormonal shifts that occur during times of intense stress are suspected to be at least partially responsible for the observable alterations in skin. Significant life stressors and traumatic experiences have also been connected to autoimmune diseases.

Exposure to certain chemicals:

There is some evidence that contact with or exposure to specific chemicals may also increase the likelihood of developing vitiligo. Some researchers have postulated that exposure to these substances speeds up preexisting stress pathways in melanocytes, which in turn triggers autoimmune inflammation.

Furthermore, genetic effects may raise melanocyte cellular stress or lower the immune system’s stress tolerance threshold.

Can vitiligo be inherited?

Many vitiligo sufferers report having a close relative who also suffers from the illness, raising the question, “Can vitiligo run in families?” Studies indicate that this is possible. Research comparing sets of identical and non-identical twins has consistently found that the former are more likely to share a condition or probability. It appears that identical twins have a higher risk factor of vitiligo than other multiples. About 20% of those who get vitiligo also have a first-degree relative (such as a parent) who also has the disorder.

In spite of the fact that vitiligo causes no physical harm, it can have serious psychological and emotional consequences. Speak to your specialist and try counseling, as depression is a common vitiligo side effect. 

Avoid getting too much sun exposure. Because the dead skin cells make those areas more sensitive, they appear white. Treatment may cause further sun sensitivity in other areas of your body. Consult your medical professional about the possibility of natural treatment for vitiligo. 

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