POST Online Media Lite Edition


Vitiligo - the pigment killer

Bernice Clark |
The task of our immune system is to detect and kill all bacteria, viruses, tumour cells or anything else that could invade our body. But it can make a mistake identifying harmless pollen as the worst enemy causing allergy reactions or killing pigment-producing cells that give colour to our skin.

Article continues below

The result of killing pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) is a chronic skin disorder called vitiligo. Vitiligo causes an irregular pale skin or white patches on the skin. It occurs in all races and ages and can affect any part of the body from face, arms and legs to retina and genitalia. Even the hair can go grey on the scalp, as well as eyelashes and eyebrows.

There isn't a simple explanation what causes vitiligo, but there are a few theories. The first theory is about body destroying its own tissue which is perceived as foreign and potentially dangerous. The second is about pigment cells injured by abnormally functioning nerve cells and the third says the pigment cells act in a self-destructive way.

As the consequence, there is no effective cure for vitiligo, it is hard to tell how much pigment the patient will lose, why it starts with a rapid loss of pigment, why there are periods of pigment stability, and why in some cases the whole process stops without the logical explanation. Also, it is not quite clear why sometimes patches have different shades and why in some cases melanocytes start to produce pigment again.

According to the affected skin area and distribution, there are five types of vitiligo: generalized, universal, focal, segmental and acrofacial type.

Generalized vitiligo is the most common type of vitiligo connected with aggressive cells theory. It causes loss of skin colour across many parts of the body and it is often symmetrically distributed. Universal vitiligo affects more than 80 percent of the total skin area. This type progresses very slowly and in a certain number of cases it can be latent for several years. However, some patients can lose pigmentation in a very short period (in 6 to 12 months).

Focal vitiligo causes limited depigmentation to one or a few areas of the body. Segmental vitiligo causes pigment loss on only one side of the body and it is the most resistant shape to treatments. This type occurs most commonly in children. Acrofacial vitiligo affects distal end of fingers and facial orifices in circumferential pattern.

The treatments are long lasting and their goal is to improve patient's appearance. Although this doesn't sound encouraging, when you see your skin, hair or eyes losing colouring, it is important to see the doctor as soon as possible because some of the treatments may help to stop or slow the process of depigmentation and to return some colour to your skin.

Cortisone is a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal gland. It is an active substance of topical corticosteroid creams that may reverse the process in the early stage. Weak topical steroid creams have been proven effective on the face and the neck. However, steroid creams may also show side effects so they shouldn't be used for a limited time.

Exposing the skin to the sunlight sounds like a good idea, however, do not try to do something on your own, especially to go to the solarium. Depigmented patches are highly sensitive to sunlight and you may face blisters. And if that happens, differently shaded patches would be your smaller problem.

So called topical or oral PUVA treatment is a combination of taking psoralen, photosensitive drug or cream, and exposing the skin to UVA rays in the controlled environment. This therapy is the treatment of choice when white patches cover less than 20 percent of the skin.

For much harder cases there is depigmentation. The treatment uses monobenzone, a compound that decreases the excretion of melanin. Since vitiligo is unpredictable and in some cases melanocytes may start to produce pigment again, before you decide to do depigmentation it is advisable to ask for the second even the third opinion since the treatment is irreversible. Surgical treatment is also possible.

Flooding concerns in Puerto Rico; thunderstorms across southeast U.S.

The main weather feature and focus for showers and thunderstorms through this weekend will be a cold front progressing across the East and stalling between the Southeast and southern Texas.


Concept Medical announces enrollment of first patient in "MAGICAL-ISR" ide study in U.S.
U.S. oil rig count up by 5 to 511
Rhode Island Governor, State Police promote safe travel across Washington Bridge
Governor Abbott met with Samsung executives to discuss billions invested in Texas


California: Nearly 500 arrests, 160,000 stolen goods recovered in just 3 months

Romania: EPPO probes public officials in investigation into €160 000 fraud involving employment funds
EPPO: 3 convicted of evading €3.1 million in customs duties on imported e-bikes
Romania: EPPO conducted searches in investigation into €1.7 million fraud involving irrigation systems
U.S.: Pacific storm over west
4.8 magnitude earthquake rattles New Jersey and New York


U.S. drillers cut oil and gas rigs to 620

Australia: East coast gas surplus expected in Q3 2024
Kuwait-Saudi rail link to be ready by 2028, says report
Cambodia approves investment projects worth $2.2 in Q1
Venice to charge day trip tourists 5 euros
Commission opens two in-depth investigations in solar photovoltaic sector

Trending Now

Coca-Cola Company to create approximately 250 new jobs in Town of Webster

Governor Abbott met with Samsung executives to discuss billions invested in Texas

Concept Medical announces enrollment of first patient in "MAGICAL-ISR" ide study in U.S.

Egypt to establish free zone for yachts along Red Sea coast


Egypt to establish free zone for yachts along Red Sea coast

UK Exports Minister visits Latin America to boost trade and unlock billions worth of exports
Argentina, Brazil in talks to reverse Bolivian gas pipeline amid shortage
Trudeau offers $6 billion to provinces to build housing
€1 billion Greek State aid measures to support renewable energy generation and storage projects
North Carolina reaches electric vehicle registration goals two years early

Today We Recommend

Egypt to establish free zone for yachts along Red Sea coast


Nokia Q1 sales down

UnitedHealth Q1 $99.8 billion

Johnson & Johnson Q1 earnings $5.3bn


Coca-Cola Company to create approximately 250 new jobs in Town of Webster

99 Cents Only Stores to close all 371 stores
Alaska Airlines says Boeing paid $160 mln for 737 Max 9 grounding
Lindsay announces agreement to acquire minority interest in Pessl Instruments
Saint-Gobain to acquire Bailey for $650 million
Farmers Mutual Hail to acquire Global Ag from AXA XL


MainStreaming appoints Tassilo Raesig as COO

BioArctic AB proposes for election board members and chairperson
TerraPay names Marco Boldini as EVP and global head of governmental affairs
Farmers Insurance appoints John Griek as CFO
PA Media Group appoints Emily Shelley as new CEO
BioNTech appoints Annemarie Hanekamp as chief commercial officer


Slovenia's economy expected to grow 0.9 pct in Q1

Italy faces deficit infringement procedure
Real GDP increased in all 50 U.S. states
Inflation continues to decline in Germany
UK house prices log unexpected fall
South Korea's FDI logs double digit growth in Q1


Nokia Q1 sales down

UnitedHealth Q1 $99.8 billion
Johnson & Johnson Q1 earnings $5.3bn
Dollarama Q4 sales increased 11.3%
Conagra Brands Q3 sales decreased 1.7%
Liebherr finished 2023 business year with record revenue of €14,042 million


Micromanaging is the worst enemy of efficiency and teamwork

Niger set to monetize massive gas reserves through Saharan natural gas pipeline
Putting the brakes on EV folly that choked the market
Oil discovery in Kavango Basin may mean huge benefits for Namibians
Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa's energy future
Is America going to lose its superpower status?


FAO Food Price Index rises in March

Australia grants license for GM bananas amid Fusarium Wilt TR4 concerns
Indian government allows exports of 10,000 tons of onions to UAE
Analytical survey: Sales of agricultural lands in Ukraine up 50% in February
Decline in Norwegian seafood exports in Q1
Tanzania's first fishing harbor to be completed in 2025


Study finds workers misjudge wage markets

Some organizations may need to expand their hierarchical structures earlier than others
Study finds there's right way and wrong way to deliver negative feedback in workplace
Allyship is critical and its needs appreciation
Generating 'buzz' about new products can influence their success
Hiring 'problem directors' can knock up to 64% off firm's value


HSBC pays penalties for alleged breaches of Consumer Data Right rules

Sanofi to settle thousands of Zantac cancer lawsuits
Former asset manager and board member of Geneva private bank referred to Swiss Federal Criminal Court
South Africa: SAP ordered to pay SIU $26m over 'invalid' Eskom contracts
Former Steinhoff director appears in court for $1.1b fraud, racketeering
Genesis agrees to pay $21 million penalty to settle SEC charges



Buna channels, an unreal and beautiful part of Bosnia and Herzegovina

JW Marriott unveils Mindful Haven with opening of JW Marriott Hotel Nairobi
Sotheby's Sports Week returns with fantastic artifacts
Red Roof properties open in Michigan
Treyam, your premier lagoon destination in Saudi Arabia
San Francisco: SkyStar wheel on Fisherman’s Wharf to stay for another 18 months


2025 Chevrolet Equinox stands apart with fresh looks and capability

Hill Helicopters HX50, luxury in the sky
Opel Movano becomes fully equipped camper van
Porsche Panamera, new hybrid variants
Dodge Charger, 670 horsepower of electric
Pagani Huayra R Evo, 900 hp from 770 Nm


Cold night, hot fire pit, cool entertainment

Embellish your home with PVC panels
You'll have to hurry if you want one of 20 new Louis Vuitton watches
Luxury duvet looks good, fells good and keeps you healthy
Vacheron Constantin, watches for life and more
Schüller kitchens, where functionality marries design


reMarkable 2, monochrome tablet for your thoughts and your eyes

OnePlus Ace 3V, first with Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3
ASUS Zenfone 11 Ultra, flagship with a reason
Samsung Galaxy S24 is photography powerhouse
Casette tapes are making a big comeback, and so are portable players
Neumann TLM 103, standard microphone for both voice and music


India launches first home-grown gene therapy for cancer

UK scientists win funding for 'cancer detecting' Lollipops
State to cover rare disease treatment costs in Bulgaria
Type 1 diabetes patients in England to receive 'artificial pancreas' as medication
Pilot study shows ketogenic diet improves severe mental illness
Texas reports possibly U.S. first human case of bird flu linked to cattle


Rare species of wild bees discovered in Berlin

SLAC completes construction of largest digital camera ever built for astronomy
Solar eclipse next week in U.S., Mexico and Canada
Gravitational waves may have made human life possible
Astronomers unveil strong magnetic fields spiraling at the edge of Milky Way's central black hole
Scientists on hunt for evidence of quantum gravity's existence at South Pole