Understanding the Triggers in Vitiligo

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is the most common of depigmentation disorders. It is an acquired pigmentation disorder of the skin and mucous membranes, in which there is a loss of melanocytes or pigmentation, producing irregular white spots and or white patches.

Initially, the white spots or white patches are small but enlarge over time. In some people, the white spots or white patches spread slowly while in others the spread is rapid.

 The Triggers in Vitiligo

Both genetic and non-genetic factors are believed to be involved in the onset of Vitiligo. Although several theories have been proposed as to the cause of Vitiligo, the precise mechanism causing the condition remains unknown.

According to researchers the exact triggers of the condition vary widely patient by patient, thus making it difficult to conclusively define the primary cause. However, given that autoimmune diseases typically involve interactions between genetic risk factors and environmental triggering factors, the autoimmune theory seems to be the most plausible.

After the genetic component (approx 20 -30% of sufferers have at least one affected first-degree relative) is taken into consideration the main triggering factors are considered to be

  • Environmental i.e. poor nutrition
  • Emotional stress
  • Trauma (Koebner Phenomenon)
  • Drugs and exposure to chemicals
  • Infections
  • Toxins and sepsis
  • Exposure to the sun

At the Psoriasis Eczema, we help patients achieve remission of their skin condition by helping them to identify their triggers.

Phillip Bayer (Practitioner at Psoriasis Eczema Clinic)


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