7 Common Questions About Vitiligo – And Their Answers

Some health problems, including skin issues neither, have known reason nor a definite cure yet. Intellectual scientists and researchers are still in continuous efforts to resolve such illnesses to provide comforting solutions. One of the names is Vitiligo which is a common skin disorder.

According to stats, around 2-3% of the world’s population is affected by it, covering nearly 70 million people. However, Michael Jackson, Winnie Harlow, and Jon Hamm are the celebrities who embraced their skin and ignited hope in the other patients.

Patients, families, concerned people, and other curious minds may have ample doubts about this topic. To begin with, it is neither a contagious nor a painful disease. But there is more about this topic. Find below some helpful answers regarding the questions around Vitiligo.

Vitiligo faq = answers to the most common questions

Can you have vitiligo without white hair?

Before answering this question, one should know what happens during vitiligo. When the melanin levels in a person are misbalanced, the skin and hair lose their natural color. So, every vitiligo patient will not be affected in the same manner because of the varied melanin content. Hence, it is possible that one patient has highly visible discoloration and the other one has a negligible symptom. Thus, the answer is both positive and negative as follows.

  • Yes, because if a person has a minor form of vitiligo that has not reached the eyes or scalp, then the patient can have vitiligo without white hair.
  • No, natural hair colors like black, brown, blonde, or more may get affected and turn white in case of vitiligo. This is because the lesser the melanin more the discoloration. Hence, if vitiligo keeps spreading to eyelashes, eyebrows, or head, then the hair will turn white in most cases.
  • So, it cannot be said that the hair will turn white or grey mandatorily. It may be possible to get vitiligo with or without white hair depending upon how much melanin is destroyed and where vitiligo is reached in the body.

How do you know if it is vitiligo or fungus?

Anybody can confuse patchy skin for vitiligo. Likewise, yeast/fungus development, also known as tinea versicolor, often makes a person think vitiligo. But there are some differences between both of them.

 

  • Areas Affected: Notice the areas of the body that have started to lose color. For example, vitiligo is more likely to be seen around the eyes, mouth, armpits, fingers, wrists, or groin area. But, discoloration on the chest, back, stomach, or neck can be signs of fungus infection.
  • Skin Texture: The touch of the skin does not change in the case of vitiligo. The texture of the affected spots continues to feel as smooth as it was before discoloration. However, fungus or yeast will make the skin go flaky and dried even to a small extent.

 

Consult Doctor: Lastly, it is always wise to consult a specialist if nothing is still understandable. A qualified doctor will not only be able to mark the difference between them but also help take preventive measures accordingly.

Are vitiligo patches dry?

As discussed above, dryness can be a vital deciding factor to differentiate between fungal infection and vitiligo. Since melanin deficiency targets the coloration and not the texture of the epidermis, vitiligo is highly unlikely to make the skin turn parched. Therefore, it can be yeast infection rather than vitiligo if patches are dry.

No, vitiligo patches are not scaly or dry. However, they may begin to itch if the condition deteriorates over time but without giving parched touch.

Exception: The smoothness or natural moisture of the skin may not lose its intactness due to vitiligo. But, the naturally dry skin type may behave dehydrated in hot weather, even for vitiligo patients.

Are vitiligo patches always white?

The color of the vitiligo patches depends on how much time has passed since its inception or how bad the condition has gone. So, in short, these patches may or may not be white for everyone throughout the happening.

  • Light or Dull: This condition starts as light marks that can either become dull or dark that is opposite to the skin’s original color. It means that darker skin will have light patches and vice versa.
  • Can be White: In many cases, the melanin misbalance results in the chalk-like white shade after some period. This is why vitiligo patients have white patches most of the time, as this condition often stays long.
  • Pink Family: Also, these can be from the family of pink hue, especially when it is inflammatory vitiligo. Trichrome vitiligo may have a combo and blend of three colors.
  • Reddish Brown: Depending upon the hyperpigmentation, the color of vitiligo patches may also range from brownish to red.

So, it can be said that vitiligo patches are not always white but have huge chances to turn white at the center after some time.

Can vitiligo appear overnight?

There might not be a definite answer to the question that how fast can vitiligo spread. For example, it may take years to develop vitiligo, while it is relatively a quick event for others. So, it varies from person to person that how and when can it spread.

The discoloration of skin begins out as small in size and minor in the shade. Hence, it can be said that vitiligo does not appear overnight. Instead, it will come into notice slowly with time.

How can you tell it is vitiligo or sunspots?

White spots or discolored skin from a particular area of the body may not always be vitiligo. Do not panic and mistake every skin change to be leucoderma/vitiligo. Know about the differences, including sunspots among the different reasons behind it.

  • Affected Areas: Other than the fungal development, the reason for darkened or lightened skin can be sunspots. Unlike Vitiligo that occurs near the eyes, back, and genital areas, Sunspots tend to show up on the legs before any other part of the body.
  • Infection Speed: Wait for some time to notice the spreading of the spots. If they do not mushroom out quickly, there are chances that they are sunspots. However, keep in note that for many patients, vitiligo does not have a fast spread rate.
  • Observe More: Try some remedies to treat sunspots. Avoid going out in the sun. Always use a high SPF sunscreen every 3-4 hours. Other cosmetic treatments or creams can also help to curb or dull sunspots. If they do not go away completely or fade even a bit, then there may be a chance that it is vitiligo and not just sunspots.

Will my vitiligo patches spread?

A one-word answer as yes or no to this question can be difficult. For some, the gravity can be alarming, and for others, it might not be bothersome. Several patients have reported an astonishing speed of their vitiligo patches growth. But there are plenty of people on the other side as well who have thankfully experienced nominal to no spread.

  • Yes, according to experts, the speed of the vitiligo patches is faster than any other form of skin discoloration. In most cases, these spots may cover a big area of the body as well in no time.
  • No, they usually start as a small portion that can even be just 2mm in diameter and remain the same. Rather, these patches may even go away on their own.

So, it cannot be said in advance that vitiligo patches will or will not spread in every case.

Solution: Visiting a qualified dermatologist and following the proven treatments may help to control this spread. But one should be quick to consult a specialized doctor in this field. The sooner the treatment chancier it will be to inhibit the spread. Get timely medications in case of vitiligo patches.

Conclusion: Though vitiligo is a painless skin disorder, it may affect the sufferer’s mental peace and confidence level. So, June 25 is marked to be vitiligo awareness day every year to support those affected. It does not come with gender or community; it can happen to anyone. Therefore, it is best to identify it early to begin the relevant therapy on time. There is no cure yet, but timely medication can prevent its spread. Stay informed!

 

 

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