General Information About Vitiligo

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a disfiguring disease whose cause is unknown. The disease causes destruction of pigment producing melanocytes in the skin, mucous membranes, eyes, inner ear, and occasionally in hair bulbs. While the cause is unknown the process is called vitiligo and is presumed to be due to an autoimmune phenomenon or a viral infection.

How frequent is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo affects 1 to 2% of the people in the world. Most of these affected people develop it before the age of 20. Regardless of the cause all of them have white patches of skin where the skin pigment cells called melanocytes have been killed.

What are the treatment options?

The primary goal of therapy is to restore the skin’s color by restoring melanocytes in the skin. Repigmentation of the skin with melanocytes allows the skin to regain its normal immune/inflammatory functions and improves the appearance of those suffering from this disease.


Several methods of treatment with varying success rates are currently in use. Some doctors prescribe topical medications and/or ointments with or without corticosteriods. A treatment frequently used is the application or ingestion of a drug (psoralens) followed by exposure to ultra-violet light (sun light). This combined treatment is known as PUVA or PUVB. It is reported that these treatments result in limited success (only 61% of patients achieve more than 25% repigmentation). Even in patients who have a good response to medical treatment methods, the hands, fingers, feet, and ankles and penis frequently do not repigment.


You should consider the surgical treatment of vitiligo only if:

  • Your vitiligo has not changed in the last year.
  • You are not responding to PUVA or PUVB treatment.
  • Your skin has never permanently lost its color (pigment) when you have suffered a small cut or scrape.
  • You do not have Hepatitis C or AIDS.

Surgical treatment is ideal for those that have controlled Vitiligo.

For appointments call

Dr Sreekar Harinatha at 09902223733 or email at