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Vitiligo occurs when skin loses melanin (the pigment that determines skin, hair and eye color). Vitiligo results when the cells that produce melanin die or no longer produce the pigment-forming material. This causes slowly enlarging white patches to form on the surface of the skin.

Causes of Vitiligo

Vitiligo is caused by the destruction of melanocytes by the immune system.

Symptoms of Vitiligo

  • Pigment loss that produces milky-white patches (depigmentation) on the skin
  • Premature whitening or graying of the hair on the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard
  • Loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of the mouth (mucous membranes)

Treatment for Vitiligo

  • Phototherapy
  • Excimer
  • Topical corticosteroid therapy
  • Topical ointments