Who Gets Vitiligo?

Who Gets Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes your skin to lose pigmentation, leading to irregularly shaped white or light patches. At the private practice of Allen A. Flood, MD, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, we’re proud to offer the best in dermatological and skin care services to our patients. 

As a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Flood specializes in diagnosing and treating many types of skin issues, including vitiligo. If you’re wondering if your symptoms might be vitiligo or whether you’re at risk of getting this pigmentation disorder, keep reading.   

What do I need to know about vitiligo? 

Vitiligo is a skin pigmentation disease that affects your body’s production of melanin in the skin. This disorder affects about 2% of people and causes a loss of skin pigmentation, resulting in white or light patches on your skin. The condition isn’t life-threatening, and it’s not contagious. 

While the exact cause of vitiligo isn’t understood, researchers hypothesize the condition is actually an autoimmune disorder that becomes activated by different factors, such as environmental stressors or emotional or physical stress. 

People with vitiligo can develop either nonsegmental vitiligo (NSV) or segmental vitiligo. More people develop NSV, which presents as patches of lost pigmentation on different parts of the body, usually with a symmetrical appearance (e.g., both arms). 

Fewer people have segmental vitiligo. This form of the disorder means that only a specific limb or area of the body develops a loss of pigmentation.   

Who is at risk of getting vitiligo?

The short answer? Everyone. Vitiligo affects millions of people around the globe. Contrary to popular belief, this skin pigmentation disorder affects people of all skin colors, races, and ethnic backgrounds, and it affects men and women equally. 

Although you can get vitiligo at any age, most people develop the condition before their early 20s. There’s a strong genetic correlation, meaning that if a close relative has vitiligo, your risk goes up. But simply having vitiligo genes doesn’t mean you will develop the skin condition.  

Some of the known factors that elevate your risk include:

Among the 70 million people around the world with vitiligo, the risk factors are varied, and not everyone with the same risk factors develops the condition.   

Can vitiligo be treated?

There isn’t a cure for vitiligo at this time. In addition, any pigmentation loss that’s occurred can’t be reversed.

But there’s good news if you have vitiligo. Treatments are available to slow pigmentation loss. Dr. Flood offers the latest in treatments designed to mask the white patches vitiligo causes to give you a more even complexion. 

After Dr. Flood diagnoses your condition, he reviews your current skin condition and asks you about your goals. 

From there, we create a customized vitiligo treatment plan to meet your needs. The goal of vitiligo treatment is to improve your skin color and thereby restore your confidence and self-esteem. 

Some of the vitiligo treatments available include: 

If you want to learn more about vitiligo, who gets it, and the treatments available, contact the Capitol Hill office of Dr. Flood to schedule an appointment.

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