Vitiligo is a common skin problem that results in loss of skin pigment leading to white patches of skin. Vitiligo occurs because the skin cells that make pigment (melanocytes) are attacked by the body’s immune system – this is often known as an autoimmune disease. Other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and thyroid conditions are occasionally associated with vitiligo; however most people with vitiligo do not have these problems.
There is not a cure for vitiligo although some people do recover spontaneously. A variety of treatments may be helpful, including careful sun protection, steroid ointments, and cosmetic camouflage.