All you need to know about Vitiligo


Vitiligo is a skin condition where you a lack skin pigment called melanin. You start to develop white patches and anyone can be affected by it regardless of age or gender.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 3.59.49 PM

Here’s more must-know info on vitiligo:

When you start losing skin pigments, white patches will start developing, but they can remain as is before spreading further. It’s found on mostly folded body parts like in between fingers, on the neck, eyelids and armpits.

Types of vitiligo

Non-segmental vitiligo

This is the most common type – the patches will occur equally on any body part. This type of vitiligo usually affects areas of the body that are mostly exposed to the sun, i.e the neck, hands, eyes, and mouth.

Segmental vitiligo

This less common type of vitiligo affects mostly children and spreads faster on the skin. The patches are more constant and stable as they appear on one part of the body withoud spreading as opposed to non-segmental vitiligo. It usually targets the skin attached to the nerves like on arms, and knees.

What are the chances of getting it

Vitiligo can affect people of all race, age, and gender, however different factors can increase your chances. These include family history, having a parent with pemicious anaemia – an autoimmune condition affecting the stomach – or if you’re suffering with melanoma: a type of skin cancer.


The white patches are mostly permanent, however if it apears in small patches a camouflage cream can be used to cover them up. According to The Vitaligo society of South Africa, a person affected by this condition is more vulnerable to sunburn due to lack of melanin. It’s advised to use suncreen with a high SPF. They also mention that the white patches can be lightened using a combination of phototherapy treatments like Narrowband UVB and excimer lighter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24