Will The Depigmented Patches Spread?
Vitiligo is a skin condition which is caused by the loss or malfunctioning of cells, called melanocytes, which give color to the skin. Due to this chronic skin disorder, not only are melanocytes destroyed, but also the tissues, known as the mucous membranes that line the inside of the mouth, nose, genital and rectal areas, and the retina of the eyes. This results in the appearance of smooth, milky white or light pink patches in the middle of normally pigmented skin. The hair may also turn white/grey that grows in areas affected by Vitiligo and on the scalp.
Vitiligo generally appears in one of three patterns: Focal Pattern Vitiligo– the depigmentation is limited to one or only a few areas; Segmental Vitiligo – the depigmented patches appear on only one side of the person’s body; Generalized Vitiligo – the most common form of Vitiligo, in which depigmentation occurs on different parts of the body, often similar on each side of the body. In addition to white patches on the skin, some people with Vitiligo may experience white hair growing in on the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard. In extremely rare cases, Vitiligo can affect eye color or the pigment of the retina.
Focal pattern Vitiligo and Segmental Vitiligo remain localized to one part of the body and do not spread. There is no way to predict if Generalized Vitiligo will spread. For some people, the depigmented patches do not spread. The disorder is usually progressive, however, and over time the white patches will spread to other areas of the body. For some people, Vitiligo spreads slowly, over many years. For other people, spreading occurs rapidly. Some people have reported additional depigmentation following periods of physical or emotional stress.