It is called vitiligo disease when the skin is covered with white spots due to the loss of the function of melanocytes, which are the color cells of the skin. When the disease is in the visible parts of the body, it can prevent the person from socializing. But since not every white spot is vitiligo, it is valuable for a specialist to make a diagnosis. In most cases, it is sufficient to examine the stain with a special lamp called Wood for diagnosis. Sometimes, it may be necessary to separate it from the fungal disease by making a scraping of the stain and examining it under a microscope. Rarely, a small module (biopsy) can be taken from the affected area for diagnostic purposes and examined under the microscope.
Vitiligo can be seen at varying rates from a very small spot to large areas. In some individuals, the affected areas may enlarge rapidly, although sometimes they may remain undisturbed. It may be in a finite region, only one half of the body, or diffuse and symmetrical.
Although the places where it is frequently seen are skin areas such as hands, arms, feet, face, lips that are exposed to the sun, it can also occur in the armpit, mouth and nose or in the genital area. In some people with vitiligo, the hair, eyebrows and eyelashes may also turn white early.
In this disease, the body’s own immune cells attack melanocytes, which are color cells, and cause whitening of the skin. The hairs in this area also turn white.
The reason is not fully clear now. There may be a predisposition or genetic transition that affects some families. It is generally accepted that vitiligo is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own cells. Although tension is blamed as a trigger, this issue has not been fully proven.
The disease often begins before the age of 20, and is rare after the age of 40. Since it is sometimes seen together with other diseases such as thyroid hormone disorders, diabetes and anemia, it is important to perform tests for these.
Treatment is aimed at improving the appearance. In this respect, the treatment is planned by taking into account the conditions such as the location and prevalence of vitiligo seen in the patient. The use of cosmetic creams and permanent dyes can relieve patients. But such analyzes are temporary.
Treatment systems such as locally applied drugs and radiation in vitiligo are quite effective. The aim of radiation therapy is to regain function of color cells. The color pigments in these regions are stimulated with ultraviolet rays applied for this purpose. Radiation therapy is performed in the form of PUVA cabins in diffuse vitiligo, and in the form of microphototherapy when regional.
Since the sensitivity of the body to ultraviolet rays increases in individuals with vitiligo, sunscreens with high protection factor are recommended when going out in the sun.