What is Vitiligo/Leucoderma & Its Types


What is Vitiligo/Leucoderma (Definition and Explanation)

Vitiligo meaning - The expression "vitiligo" comes from "vitium", signifying "defect", which is a chronic and acquired pigmental skin condition (loss of skin color) that can keep going for a considerable length of time.
White spots on the skin can be either small or too larger in size. In most cases, small white spots on the skin is found.
Typically, it is just a cosmetic problem with obvious white patches on the skin which is triggered by melanin deficiency. Apart from this, in some rare cases it appears as white dots on the skin.

In this particular disease, the color producing cells (melanocytes) are mistakenly destroyed by the autoimmune system of the body. And for that reason, the skin starts off becoming white which can be generally slight pale, chalky, or milky white with sharp edges and borders.
It really is neither contagious disorder nor fatal, but can ruin one's natural beauty.
Additionally, it is a rare condition that affects around 1-2% of individuals throughout the world and often involves 20-40 years of age gathering. It can affect any gender equally like men, women, children, etc.
Its lesions are usually seen as a pain-free, white, depigmented, flat, circumscribed patches that go from smaller to much larger in size.
White spots on the body generally tends to be found on any parts of the body including face, neck, hands, feet, chest, groin, eyes, forearms, forehead, scalp, fingers, lips, neck, nose, navel and the genital regions, but mostly observed in  too much sun-exposed part of the body and more detectable in individuals who have darker skin. It can spread all over the body, even inside the mouth, nose, and eyes.

Apart from this, it can affect eyelashes, eyebrows, and scalp hair to turn white due to premature graying.

In addition, it is inherent that occurs around 20-25% with a family history of the illness.

It has been well-defined in Ayurvedic text since ancient background.
The risk rate of industrial workers increases significantly who are exposed to synthetic chemicals continually like phenolic compounds.

Also interestingly, specialists have never been able to reveal its
exact causes till date and just why anybody grows vitiligo.

Furthermore, itching/pruritus is also present in some people's white patches.

Social Stigma associated with Vitiligo

social stigma associated with vitiligo

Mostly vitiliginous spots increase ugliness. Its direct relation is concerned with beauty, especially in the female being only. Although, it generally does not cause any organic harm, yet it is known as Shweta Kushta (White leprosy) in India which is absolutely an incorrect expression.

It is due to lack of awareness and education which achieves great stress and patient become more embarrassed. As the numbers of white patches and sizes increases, mental pressure goes up as well in the victim of vitiligo.

Regrettably, in Indian society, it sometimes viewed as a social stigma which is deeply attached with the term "White leprosy" and the patient often accused of their lesions that can influence their entire personality.

The superstitious people regard it either as a punishment of past sins or the curse of God.

Mostly young women are affected by this social stigma and face their matrimonial issues.

If the lesions are small and remain shrouded then there is absolutely no problem with it. In case, the patches have a tendency to grow and spread on the entire body, then it produces fierce mental stress, especially in female being.

The possibility of getting married of an unmarried women almost becomes zero. Some committed women also get divorced that lead to severe mental stress and could bring about suicidal attempts.

On the other hand, in spite of living in the same house, they become victims of the husband's ignorance and insensibility.

Other than the husband, other relatives or family members also stays away from him, which gives deep sorrows in her mind and she feels herself ignored and isolated.

Apart from family, communal isolation also prompts loneliness and may change one's mental stability, psychological balance, self-esteem, self-confidence, and regular conduct as well.

This is significant for vitiligo sufferers and we have to come forward for the cooperation of such kind of people.

Individuals experiencing white patches face many other problems that are worried about interpersonal stigmatization such as paying undue attention at the public places, whispered remarks, humiliating comments, hurtful criticism, job expulsion, estrangement from good companions, separation from family, segregation from relationship, financial loss due to frequent hospital appointments, and so on. 

As a result of this, the patient feels to have fallen from his own eyes and soon becomes a victim of depression and negative emotions.

So they need strong support to reduce mental depression and negative sentiments.

Apart from elders, this also offers a bad influence on children and generally, they used to avoid sports activities, study, and other creative works.

A few people reject the marriage proposal because they do not want to give something as a gift (white patches) to the next generation.

But folks must know about this reality that they can have a quality life in the wake of getting married.

Of course, Vitiligo may occur in the coming generation, but its extent is surprisingly low. If attention is paid on proper dietary patterns and living conditions, then it can be avoided.

Vitiligo is definitely not a contagious disease since it does not have any relation to infection. This thing should be told among the common people of the society to increase awareness.

Types of Vitiligo (Vitiligo Classifications)


Vitiligo is mainly of two types that are classified into different groups and subgroups, which is based on the number of spots, get spread around of disease, and location of depigmentation.

·        Segmental Vitiligo:

This kind of vitiligo is the least common that occur using one side of the body. That is why it is called unilateral vitiligo.
It is generally found in children and teens. It spreads rapidly in a certain part of the body but over time its extension puts a stop to and persists for a long time.
This type of vitiligo does not have any relation to autoimmune diseases.
The disease occurring in the eyebrows, eyelashes, and scalp hair goes under this sort of vitiligo. Apart from these, it may occur on the face, neck, arms, or legs as well.

·        Nonsegmental Vitiligo:

It has many other names as well like generalized vitiligo, bilateral vitiligo, vitiligo vulgaris, etc.
It is the most frequent among all types of Vitiligo which can appear both sides of the body.
Its special characteristic is that it can occur in any part of the body and get spread around as well. Common involved parts are hands, elbows, legs, ankles, knees, wrists, and neck.

Some different kinds of Vitiligo will be the following:

·        Acrofacial vitiligo:

In this type of vitiligo, patches show up on parts from the focal point of the body that generally entails head, upper and lower extremities.

·        Lip-tip Vitiligo:

This type of vitiligo appears on the lips, fingers, and toes only. That is the reason, it is recognized as an unusual form of vitiligo.

·        Universal Vitiligo:

It is otherwise called Vitiligo Universalis in medico term.
This is actually the most hazardous and rare type of Vitiligo which is nearly impossible to get rid of because it influences the entire body, including hair, pores, etc.
In this specific type of vitiligo,  the skin of the whole body loses its natural color.

·        Mucosal Vitiligo:

At the point, when the only mucous membrane is influenced by this kind of disease, it is called Mucosal Vitiligo.

·        Focal Vitiligo:

It is a significant and uncommon type of vitiligo in which the patient has a small isolated spot in a confined area of the body. It is easier to manage with conventional treatment as it has not a nature of spreading.

·        Mixed Vitiligo:

Acrofacial Vitiligo + Vulgaris Vitiligo
or on the other hand
Acrofacial Vitiligo + Segmental Vitiligo
can be found in combination.

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What is Vitiligo/Leucoderma & Its Types