While there are many theories about what causes vitiligo, it is currently still being studied. There is no certain cause. There is a degree of genetic tendency to develop the condition which can be passed from generation to generation. It can result from a number of different factors such as oxidative stress or chemical exposure.
While it is one of the most common conditions with depigmentation, there are other related diagnosis which have to be considered. It is best to have a formal examination under a Wood’s lamp in order to make a diagnosis.
It varies from patient to patient. Vitiligo is a slowly progressing condition which may or may not increase in area or appear on other regions of the body. Some areas may grow in size or in some cases, spontaneously have its pigment (colour) return. It is important to note that early diagnosis and initiation of treatment tends to have better long terms outcomes.
No. Vitiligo is not contagious. It is not linked to any bacteria or viruses which can be spread from person to person. It has been found to have links to autoimmune disease and also has a degree of family association.
Vitiligo is a challenging condition to treat with no known cure. However, advances in medical science and new therapies are giving patients better results every day. Combining treatment modalities have been found to have a synergistic effect with better outcomes for patients.
It will depend on a number of factors such as duration of condition, area affected and degree of pigment loss. Treatment may take anywhere from 3 – 6 months before results are obvious. Some areas of the body which are particularly resistant to treatment may take even longer.
The cornerstone of vitiligo treatment is inducing repigmentation and preventing further recurrence of disease. After vitiligo treatment, regular follow ups and therapy required to minimise chances of recurrence of disease.