In brief, vitiligo is a long-term problem with growing patches of skin losing their color. It can affect people of any age, gender, or ethnic group.
In fact, vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells die or stop producing melanin — the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes color. As a result, the involved patches of skin become lighter or white.
However, doctors don't know why the cells fail or die. But it may be related to:
- an autoimmune disorder, where your body's defenses turn on your own cells instead of attacking invading germs.
- harm to the skin due to a critical sunburn or cut
- exposure to some chemicals
- a neural cause
- heredity, as it may run in families
- a virus
Vitiligo is not contagious. One person cannot catch it from another. Though it can appear at any age, it is more likely to start around the age of 20 years.
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