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Vitiligo FAQ: What You Need to Know About This Skin Condition

Were you recently diagnosed with vitiligo? Does someone in your life have spots and you are curious? Read below for answers to the most asked questions.

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a condition that results in white spots on the skin, where they have lost their pigment. It is progressive, meaning as the person ages, they will likely continue to lose more pigment.

Is vitiligo contagious?

Vitiligo is not contagious. You cannot catch it from touching or being near someone else with vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition, but not an infectious or transmissible condition.

What causes vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an auto-immune disorder. Our immune systems are overactive at the skin. The immune system mistakenly attacks the skin, destroying melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells. Our skin can then no longer produce melanin in these areas, resulting in visible white spots, completely devoid of pigment.

Spots are typically splotchy, rather than perfectly round. Vitiligo also tends to be symmetrical across the body, meaning if you have vitiligo on your right hand, you will likely also have it on your left hand, though the spots won’t look identical.

Is vitiligo dangerous or life-threatening?

Typically, no. Individuals with vitiligo should get their thyroid checked regularly, since it is sometimes associated with thyroid problems, but that is the main risk factor for actual illness. Otherwise, vitiligo is considered primarily a “cosmetic condition.”

Many with vitiligo are more diligent about wearing sunscreen and covering up, since much of their skin lacks natural protection from the sun. On the other hand, some research supports that vitiligo might lower your risk for skin and some other cancers, since the immune system is already so

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