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Causes of Vitiligo

This article delves into the causes and complications of Vitiligo that you should be aware of.

  • 12 Oct 2023
  • 2 min read

Vitiligo is a condition characterised by the loss of skin pigmentation in patches. People with vitiligo often experience physical, mental and emotional struggles brought on by their symptoms, so it’s important to familiarise ourselves with potential causes, treatments, triggers and risk factors for Vitiligo. In this article, we dive into the potential underlying causes of vitiligo, including genetic predisposition and autoimmune disease.

How is Vitiligo Caused?

Vitiligo is a multi-factorial disease and can occur at any age, from childhood to adulthood. Hence, it is best to have the right health insurance coverage at an early age. It is mostly associated with auto-immune disorders like Graves disease/hyperthyroidism. Both genetic and non-genetic environmental factors play a role in the incidence of vitiligo. The major reason is the loss of melanocytes in the affected area that can happen due to various genetic/non-genetic factors. The following factors can be considered for the loss of melanocytes or the occurrence of vitiligo:

  • Cytotoxic mechanism: Loss of melanocytes occurs due to certain physical injury, stress, and sunburn, which are the main vitiligo reasons.
  • Auto-immune mechanism: Loss of melanocytes occurs due to an alteration in immune response that causes the destruction or dysfunction of melanocytes.
  • Genetic mechanism: It is an intrinsic defect in the production of melanocytes. Here, an inherent genetic abnormality can hinder the growth and differentiation of these cells.
  • Neural mechanisms: Here, a mediator of the neuronal system can destroy the melanocytes and decrease the production of melanin.
  • Oxidant-antioxidant mechanisms: Here, the metabolic product/intermediate of the melanin synthesis system causes the destruction of the melanocyte itself.
  • Emotional stress: People who are under deep emotional stress can cause their liver function to be compromised, and this, in turn, can result in weakened immunity as well as progression towards vitiligo, even with a mild trigger.



If you wondering what causes vitiligo to spread, we hope this article has helped. Vitiligo is a non-contagious disease and is not associated with any type of physical discomfort, but it is surely associated with social stigma and causes a person to feel bad about their skin condition. Therapies like laser therapy, phototherapy, and skin grafting surgeries are also available to treat vitiligo. With regular care and a few lifestyle changes, vitiligo can be well managed.   

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