Vitiligo: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Types, Complications Prevention And Treatment

Vitiligo is a type of skin condition that causes thus different skin areas to lose their pigment (color). Vitiligo is not a contagious disease. This condition typically begins on the hands, feet, forearms, and face. However, it can affect any part of the body. Vitiligo is a long-term condition, and people having this condition are extremely vulnerable to getting sunburns. If you ever notice pale white patches developing on your skin and are worried if it is vitiligo or not, then this blog is going to be your guide to understanding the condition. In this blog, we will learn about Vitiligo, its symptoms, causes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and more. So, stay with us till the end as we discover about Vitiligo.

What is Vitiligo (“vit-il-EYE-go”)?

Vitiligo Meaning

Vitiligo is a type of skin condition that occurs when the melanocytes in the body are destroyed. Melanocytes are the cells that are responsible for producing a pigment known as melanin, which gives the skin its color. When melanocytes fail to produce melanin, the area affected begins to turn white and lose its color. The areas that are affected by the condition and lose their pigment are known as macules.

Vitiligo occurs when the body’s immune system destroys the melanocyte cells. Apart from skin, this condition can also affect the hair and eyes. Any part of the body that has hair and is affected by this condition may turn silver or white.

Areas affected by vitiligo

Although vitiligo can affect any part of the body, it is seen mostly in,

  • Areas exposed to the sun (face, hands and feet)
  • Mucus membranes, such as inside the mouth 
  • Behind the eyes 
  • Within the ears
  • Nostrils 
  • Genital region 

Signs and Symptoms of Vitiligo:

The various signs and symptoms indicating vitiligo include the following,

  • Skin patches that have lost their color and appear light or whiter when compared to the natural skin tone
  • Mucus membranes with patches of lost color, including the inner linings of the lips and nose 
  • Patches on body areas, having hair that has turned grey, silver, or white
  • Premature grain or whitening of eyelashes, hair, eyebrows, and facial hair.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Vitiligo in Babies:

The various early signs and symptoms of vitiligo in babies include loss of skin color on various body areas such as the face, feet, hands, arms, inside the mouth, genital area, and hair. In certain cases, vitiligo may also cause inflammation in the ears and may also lead to hearing loss. This happens because the ear cells also contain melanocytes. Babies may also experience changes in the color of the eye (retina).

Signs and Symptoms of Vitiligo in Adults:

Teen adults come with the most noticeable symptoms of vitiligo, including one or more lighter skin areas on the body. In many cases, a lightened skin area is the only visible sign of Vitiligo. However, adults may also experience various other symptoms of fatigue, such as,

  • Patches or spots of lightened skin 
  • White patches 
  • Developing quick sunburns
  • Itching on the patches 
  • Lighter patches inside the mouth, nose, around the mouth, and on the lips
  • Hair turning gray 
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes turning white or gray 
  • Hearing loss 
  • Changes in the color of the eye

Vitiligo Causes: 

The exact causes of vitiligo remain unknown. However, various studies are being conducted to find what causes the lack of melanin in the body. Various researchers believe that this condition is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body starts attacking its cells. As per studies, some of the possible risk factors leading to the development of vitiligo may include the following,

Genetic factors:

Certain studies have shown that around 30% of cases of vitiligo are genetic. This indicates that vitiligo condition is a hereditary problem and one can develop it if they have a family history.

Genetic changes: 

Another potential risk factor of vitiligo is genetic changes in the DNA or genetic mutations, which can also affect the way melanocytes function. There are more than 30 genes in the body that may increase a person’s risk of developing vital conditions.

Autoimmune condition: 

Autoimmune condition is when the immune system of the body mistakes the body cells to be foreign invaders, such as microorganisms, and starts attacking the body’s cells. As a result, the immune system overreacts and produces antibodies to destroy its cells. Researchers believe that it is a type of autoimmune disorder. Additionally, various autoimmune diseases may be linked to the development of Vitiligo. 

These autoimmune disorders may include the following, 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Type 1 diabetes 
  • Alopecia areata 
  • Thyroiditis 
  • Lupus 
  • Scleroderma
  • Addison’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • pernicious anemia


Environmental factors: 

The various environmental factors that may increase the risk of developing vitiligo. These environmental factors include Skin trauma, sunburns, emotional distress, exposure to UV radiation, and exposure to chemicals. 

Oxidative stress:

Oxidative stress due to an imbalance of antioxidants and oxygen molecules may also lead to an increased risk of developing vitiligo in some individuals.


Types of Vitiligo: 

The various types of vitiligo. The location of the vitiligo, along with the prevalence of its symptoms, may differ depending on the type of vitiligo. The various types of vitiligo include the following,

1) Non-Segmental Vitiligo

Non-segmental vitiligo is one of the most commonly occurring types of Vitiligo, in which the patches are visible on both sides of the body and are usually symmetrical. The spots and patches are commonly found to have developed in body areas exposed to trauma, pressure, or sunburns. The five subcategories of non-segmental vitiligo include the following,

  • Generalized: In this type, macules appear on various areas of the body. This is also the most common type of vitiligo.
  • Mucosal: In this type of vitiligo, the mucous membranes present in the mouth and the genital are affected by the condition.
  • Focal: This type of vitiligo is seen most commonly in children. In this type, the patches form on smaller areas of the body. 
  • Acrofacial: In this type, the patches affect the face, fingers, and toes.
  • Universal: The universal type of Vitiligo rarely occurs in which discolored patches cover most of the body areas. 

2) Segmental Vitiligo:

The segmental type of Vitiligo typically affects only one side of the body, such as the face or the hands. This type of vitiligo stops growing after the initial patch has been formed on the skin. 

3) Mixed Vitiligo:

In this type of vitiligo, the individual experiences a combination of both non-segmental and segmental vitiligo types. 

4) Hypochromic Vitiligo:

Hypochromic Vitiligo, also known as vitiligo minor, is a type characterized by the presence of a few white patches spread across the scalp and trunk. This particular type of vitiligo is commonly seen in people having darker skin tones.

Complications of Vitiligo: 

While vitiligo is more of a cosmetic concern, it can lead to various complications if not treated properly. The various complications of vitiligo include the following,


As vitiligo condition causes a lack of melanin in the body, the skin becomes vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun. Hence, individuals with wide go are more prone to getting sunburns.

Predisposition to autoimmune conditions: 

Individuals are at a risk of developing other autoimmune conditions. Some of these autoimmune conditions may include anemia, diabetes and hypothyroidism.

Eye problems:

Individuals having vitiligo may experience eye issues such as inflammation of the iris or uveitis ( a condition characterised by inflammation of the middle layer of the eye). Additionally, the patient may also experience a change in the color of the iris, and may also have retina abnormality. 

Ear problems:

In certain cases, individuals with Vitiligo may experience hyperacusis (partial loss of hearing).

Psychological issues:

One of the most common complications of Vitiligo is issues with the way the patient’s skin looks. Individuals having Vitiligo may often experience low self-esteem and embarrassment due to their skin condition. This can also cause the patient to feel anxious and depressed. In some cases, the patient may also isolate themselves. 

How to Diagnose Vitiligo?

The primary step in diagnosing vitiligo is a physical examination. Upon suspecting Vitiligo, your doctor will conduct a physical examination to check the symptoms on the body. During your physical examination, your healthcare provider or physician will also conduct a medical history examination and check you for any autoimmune diseases that you may have. It is essential to inform your doctor about any factor that may have led to the development of such as autoimmune diseases, skin trauma, sunburn etc.

It Is also important for you to let your doctor know about your family history of Vitiligo or other skin diseases, if any. Additionally, let your doctor know if you tried any other treatment before visiting them.

Apart from a physical and medical history examination, your doctor may also conduct another test using an ultraviolet lamp. The ultraviolet lamp, also called as Wood’s lamp, helps the doctor look at the vitiligo patches and establish the difference between them and other skin conditions.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may also order a few blood tests and a skin biopsy. A skin biopsy will show if the pigment-producing cells called melanin are present in the body areas affected by vitiligo.

Vitiligo Treatment: 

There are various treatments available to treat vitiligo. The treatment given for vitiligo may vary depending on the effect of the condition on the body and the body’s response to the treatment. In certain cases, the treatment goal may be to add pigment to the body or restore the colour balance in the skin, while some treatments may aim to remove the pigment. To treat vitiligo, medicines, surgery, or a combination of both approaches may be prescribed. In general, the treatment for vitiligo may include,

  • Medicines 
  • Topical creams
  • Ultraviolet A (PUVA) light therapy
  • Depigmentation
  • Narrowband ultraviolet B light therapy
  • Excimer laser treatment 
  • Surgery (skin grafts and blister grafting) 

Homeopathic Medicine for Vitiligo

Homeopathic treatment for vitiligo works by inhibiting or slowing down the process of loss of colour. It also works by bringing some of the lost pigment of the skin back. There are various homeopathic medicines and homeopathic remedies available are that are prescribed by a homeopathic vitiligo doctor, depending upon the condition of the patient and the symptoms being experienced. These homeopathic medicines work by improving the natural production of melanin. Homeopathic medicines additionally also have very less to minimal side effects. This makes them an ideal option for treating vitiligo.

At Dr.Care, we provide holistic care through homeopathy treatments. Our homeopathic treatment approach helps the patient manage vitiligo and its symptoms effectively. Our team of trained homeopathic specialists provides proper diagnosis for vitiligo and provides the best treatment approaches to help the patient with effective management of the problem. We provide treatment after diagnosing and thoroughly monitoring the patient’s symptoms and the nature of vitiligo. Compared to conventional treatment approaches, homeopathy treatment for vitiligo offers holistic care. 

How to prevent vitiligo?

The exact causes of Vitiligo are not known. Hence, there is no known way of preventing this condition. However, there are preventive measures to reduce your risk of developing Vitiligo. Some of these preventive measures include the following,

  • Applying sunscreen every day, especially when going outside 
  • Wearing clothes that provide sun protection, such as long-sleeved clothes
  • Avoiding exposure to tanning beds and sunlamps
  • Staying indoors or in the shed
  • Using umbrellas or hats when out in the sun
  • Using a skin moisturizer daily to take optimal care of the skin 
  • Avoiding excessive stress 
  • Preventing the occurrence of injuries 
  • Managing underlying autoimmune conditions effectively 


Pityriasis Alba vs Vitiligo

Pityriasis Alba and Vitiligo may seem similar, but they are too distinct skin conditions. Although they have certain similarities in their appearances. The differences between Pityriasis alba and Vitiligo are given in the table below,

S. No Pityriasis Alba Vitiligo
1 Pityriasis Alba is not a type of autoimmune condition.  Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition.
2 The changes in the skin occurring due to Pityriasis alba have faded borders.  The changes in the skin occurring due to vitiligo have extremely sharp borders.
3 The skin color of individuals having Pityriasis alba transition gradually The changes in skin color in the case of vitiligo happen abruptly. 

Leucoderma vs Vitiligo

Both leucoderma and Vitiligo are two commonly occurring skin conditions that are characterized by the appearance of white spots on the skin. In many instances, it is difficult to identify whether the condition affecting is Vitiligo or leucoderma. While the condition shares certain similarities, they also have certain differences setting them apart. The differences between leukoderma and Vitiligo are given below,

S. No Leucoderma Vitiligo
1 Leucoderma is not an autoimmune condition and can be caused due to various problems such as chemical exposure, trauma, infections, burns, injuries, allergic reactions, etc.  Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition and its exact causes of vitiligo are not known. However, a combination of autoimmune, genetic factors and environmental factors may act as its risk factors. 
2C Various pigment disorders that come under leucoderma, such as Chemical Leucoderma, post-inflammatory hypopigmentation, piebaldism, halo nevus, nevus depigmentosus, etc.  Vitiligo has two major types: segmental vitiligo and non-segmental vitiligo.
3 The progression of Leucoderma is based on the underlying cause. In case the underlying reason for Leucoderma is progressive, the depigmentation process in the body may continue. Vitiligo is typically progressive and can spread over time. However, the extent and rate of progression may vary from patient to patient. While vitiligo may progress quickly in some cases, it may be slow in others. 
4 The treatment for leucoderma is given depending on its cause, the stage, the patient’s overall health and age. The aim of treatment in the case of vitiligo is to restore the pigment in the areas affected or even the skin pigment out. 

Albinism Vs Vitiligo

Both albinism and vitiligo are two conditions that affect the pigment on the skin. Although both conditions appear similar, leading to confusion between them, there are several differences between the two conditions. The differences between albinism and vitiligo are listed below,

S. No Albinism Vitiligo
1 Albinism is a genetic disorder. Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition. 
2. Individuals with albinism have very little pigment or no pigment at all on their skin at the time of birth.  Individuals having vitiligo experience white-colored patches on their bodies. These patches may develop on one or both the sides of the body and may also be symmetrical. These patches can develop in any area of the body. 
3 Albinism is a condition that is inherited and occurs as a result of mutation in one of the genes responsible for the production of melanin in the body. When the proteins responsible for melanin production are not available in the body or are deformed, melanin cannot be produced. This eventually leads to the loss of colour of the skin. Vitiligo is caused when the activity of the immune system destroys the body’s cells responsible for producing melanin, called melanocytes. This leads to the formation of white patches on the body. 

Hypopigmentation Vs Vitiligo

Hypopigmentation and vitiligo are two skin conditions that are characterized by the formation of skin patches that are lighter in color when compared to the rest of the body. Although Vitiligo and hypopigmentation have similar symptoms, they are two distinct conditions. The various differences between hypopigmentation and vitiligo are listed in the table below.

S. No Hypopigmentation  Vitiligo
1 Hypopigmentation is a general term that is used to define reduced skin pigmentation or color.  Vitiligo is a lifelong condition. 
2 Hypopigmentation can develop on its own or occur due to various causes such as infections, skin disorders, certain health conditions, injuries and effects of certain medications. Hypopigmentation may also be present at birth or may also develop later on in life. Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys the melanocytes in the body, which are responsible for the production of a pigment called melanin. As a result of Vitiligo, White colored patches develop on the skin.
3 The treatment for hyperpigmentation depends upon various factors such as the patient’s age, the area of the skin affected, the overall health of the patient and the underlying cause of the problem. Additionally, in certain cases where hypopigmentation occurs as a result of an injury, cut or burn, the hypopigmentation may resolve on its own as the skin heals. There is no cure available for Vitiligo. The treatment given for vitiligo aims to add pigment or color to the depigmented patches on the skin, as well as slow down the progression of the condition.
4 The types of hypopigmentation include: Generalized and localized. The two major types of vitiligo include: Segmental vitiligo and non-segmental vitiligo. 

Nevus Depigmentosus vs Vitiligo

Both Nevus Depigmentosus and vitiligo are conditions involving depigmentation of the skin. While the conditions look similar, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. The various differences between Nevus Depigmentosus  and vitiligo include the following,

Nevus Depigmentosus Vitiligo
1 Nevus Depigmentosus is a type of congenital condition that is present in both. Vitiligo is a type of autoimmune condition characterized by the presence of depigmentic patches on the skin.
2 The patches occurring in Nevus Depigmentosus are usually localized to one particular area.  The depigmented patch in case of vitiligo may occur anywhere on the body. It can affect either one or both sides of the body.
3 The patches in Nevus Depigmentosus don not spread or change its size and shape significantly over time.  The patches in case of vitilgo may spread or enlarge with time. 

Leprosy Vs Vitiligo

Leprosy and vitiligo are two types of conditions affecting the skin. Both vitiligo and leprosy are distinct skin conditions. The various differences between these two conditions are listed below,

S. No Leprosy Vitiligo
1 Leprosy is a type of infectious condition that occurs due to bacteria. Vitiligo is a type of autoimmune condition that leads to the loss of the pigment called melanin from the skin. 
The symptoms of leprosy include the following,

  • Thick and stiff skin
  • Discolored patches on the skin that are usually flat
  • Loss of eyelashes 
  • Loss of eyebrows 
  • Development of ulcers on the soles of the feet that may be painless swelling or lumps on the earlobes and face that may be painless
  • Nodules (growths) on the skin 

The symptoms of vitiligo include the following,

  • Development of lightened patches or spots on the skin 
  • Frequent sunburns on the skin
  • Itchy sensation on the patches 
  • Lighter patches inside the mucus linings such as the mouth, nose, around the mouth and on the lips
  • Hair turning gray 
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes turning white or gray 
  • Hearing loss 
  • Changes in the color of the eye
3 Leprosy is contagious and can be transfereed from one individual to another individual through the respiratory droplets released in the air by the infected person.  Vitiligo is not contagious and cannot spread from one individual to another.

Home remedies for vitiligo:

Vitiligo treatment home remedies may help in managing the condition and its symptoms better. Some commonly used home remedies for vitiligo include the following,
  • Turmeric Paste: Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in it. This can help in reducing the inflammation and protecting the skin from oxidative damage.
  • Babchi powder: Another home remedy commonly used for vitiligo is babchi powder. Babchi powder is a good remedy for hypopigmentation or white patches.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil offers various skin benefits. It has antifungal properties and also helps in reducing inflammation. Additionally, applying coconut oil on vitiligo affected areas also helps in soothing the skin and improving the appearance of white spots.
  • Red Clay: Red clay helps with repigmentation. Red clay has properties that help in the production of melon, and hence it is thought to help individuals having vitiligo.
  • Neem: Another popular ingredient in skin care. Neem has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Neem leaves paste or neem oil can be used on areas affected with vitiligo to calm and soothe it.
  • Mustard Oil: Mustard oil houses various vitamins and essential fatty acids, which, when applied to the skin, can help in nourishing it and improving its health.
  • Aloe Vera: Another renowned skincare ingredient, aloe vera gel has healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe vera gel can be applied on to the areas affected with vitiligo to relieve its symptoms and smoothen the skin.
  • Drinking water out of a copper vessel: Hydration is important to maintain the overall health of the skin and body. It is thought that drinking water from a copper vessel can benefit patients with vitiligo. The antibacterial and antioxidant properties of copper can help improve skin health and facilitate the formation of melanin, making it a useful home remedy for individuals with vitiligo.

Vitiligo Diet: 

While a diet cannot prevent or treat vitiligo, but vitiligo diet plays a crucial role in maintaining overall body health. Various foods can help reduce inflammation and cell damage. On the other hand, certain foods cause inflammation in the body; hence, avoiding them is essential to promote health and overall wellness of the body. 

Studies have shown that a vitiligo diet packed with anti-oxidant-rich foods, nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids helps in reducing body inflammation and preventing cellular damage. 

Diet Vitiligo Treatment: 

Fruits: Fruits are rich in antioxidants and essential to improve health. The different fruits that can be added to the diet include oranges, apples, strawberries, melon, and raspberries to prevent cellular damage and limit inflammation.

Vegetables: Adding vegetables such as beets, carrots, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, and green beans are helpful for individuals with vitiligo.

Proteins: Eggs, chicken, legumes (peas, lentils and beans), tuna, salmon, etc are excellent sources of proteins that can help improve overall health. 

Omega-3 Fatty acids: Foods that are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and improve artery function. Some examples of omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods to include in the diet are walnuts, flax seeds, nori, canola oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, salmon, mussels, oysters, kombu, dulse, wakame, etc. 

Vitiligo Foods to Avoid:

Various foods promote inflammation in the body. Hence, it is crucial to avoid these foods in the vitiligo diet. Some of the foods that are not to be included in a vitiligo diet include the following, 

  • Processed meats 
  • Sugary beverages such as soda, cola, juices and sports drinks 
  • Pre-packaged food items 
  • Sweets such as candies, cookies, pastries, and ice cream
  • Foods rich in carbohydrates 
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Fried food items like chips and fries  
  • Refined foods like pasta, white bread, cakes, white rice, etc

Vitiligo Treatment in Homeopathy

Dr. Care Homeopathy has the best variety of treatments for vitiligo covering a comprehensive range of factors rather than symptom management. Our methods focus on patient care and intake of all the related and unique factors contributing to the development of vitiligo. Considering through consultations, we detect underlying potential triggers and factors that increase the effects.

Treatment intends to address the underlying causes of the condition, reduce the symptoms, and promise long-term recovery. Our overall goal of assurance is continuous care to ensure our patients do not experience the condition in the future. We also ensure the patient’s safety by considering that most of the vitamin treatments have fewer side effects compared to regular medications. We ensure continuous treatment, care as we aim to provide an alternative solution through considering patients’ long-term risks. Additionally, patient involvement is an essential factor in curbing recurrences. Our patients have the right to manage and determine factors that put their lives in this position. Trust us to cure vitiligo, and in return, you are assured of reliable, reduced safety care, and vitamin treatment.


Vitiligo is a lifelong autoimmune condition. While it cannot be cured, various treatments can help in managing the condition. Individuals having vitiligo usually experience self-esteem issues due to the way they look; hence, patients need to seek help and advice from a mental health expert. At Dr Care, our expert homeopathy doctors help individuals with vitiligo by providing the best treatments for vitiligo to ensure they get maximum benefits from the treatment. We provide efficient diagnostic and homeopathic treatment services to patients for all conditions. With Dr Care, you can heal holistically through the power of homeopathy. To learn more about homeopathic treatment for vitiligo, contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

5. How much time does vitiligo take to spread?

The time taken for vitiligo to spread may vary from one individual to another. While vitiligo in some cases may spread very quickly, in some cases, it may take years to spread.

6. How to identify vitiligo?

Various symptoms can help identify vitiligo; however, for proper diagnosis, it is essential to see a healthcare provider. The signs that can help identify vitiligo include the following, Loss of pigment and white patches on various areas of the body Premature whitening or graying of hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows Loss of pigment from mucus membranes, such as nostrils, lips, and mouth

7. Is homeopathy an effective treatment for vitiligo?

Yes, homeopathy can be an extremely effective form of treatment for vitiligo since it treats the underlying causes and mainly stimulates the body to restore pigmentation.

8. How long does it take to see results with homeopathic treatment for vitiligo?

The duration varies depending on the severity of one’s condition and the rate of their response to treatment. However, improvements are visible after a few months of treatment for most patients.

9. Are homeopathic remedies safe for vitiligo treatment?

Yes, they are safe, and this is why homeopathic remedies are recommended over conventional treatments since they have no severe side effects.

10. Are homeopathic treatments suitable for all types of vitiligo?

Yes, It is possible to modify treatment to fit a patient since there are varied forms of vitiligo – segmental, generalized, and localized.