Vitiligo is a long-term condition where pale white patches develop on the skin. It's caused by the lack of melanin, a pigment in the skin.
Vitiligo can affect any area of skin, but most commonly occurs on the face, neck and hands, and in skin creases.
The pale areas of skin are more vulnerable to sunburn, so it's important to take extra care when in the sun and use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF).
Vitiligo is caused by the lack of a pigment called melanin in the skin. Melanin is produced by skin cells called melanocytes, and it gives your skin its colour.
In vitiligo, there aren't enough working melanocytes to produce enough melanin in your skin. This causes white patches to develop on your skin or hair. It's not clear exactly why the melanocytes disappear from the affected areas of skin.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The main sign of vitiligo is patchy loss of skin color
Vitiligo can affect any area of skin, but most commonly occurs on the face, neck and hands, and in skin creases
Vitiligo often starts as a pale patch of skin that gradually turns completely white
The centre of a patch may be white, with pale skin around it. If there are blood vessels under the skin, the patch may be slightly pink, rather than white