Normally, the color of hair and skin is determined by melanin. Vitiligo occurs when cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin.
Depending on the type of vitiligo one has, it may affect:
Nearly all skin surfaces. With this type, called universal vitiligo, the discoloration affects nearly all skin surfaces.
Many parts of your body. With this most common type, called generalized vitiligo, the discolored patches often progress similarly on corresponding body parts (symmetrically).
Only one side or part of your body. This type, called segmental vitiligo, tends to occur at a younger age, progress for a year or two, then stop.
One or only a few areas of your body. This type is called localized (focal) vitiligo.
The face and hands. With this type, called acrofacial vitiligo, the affected skin is on the face and hands, and around body openings, such as the eyes, nose and ears.
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if areas of your skin, hair or mucous membranes lose coloring. Do not wait becuase treatment might stop or slow the discoloring process and return some color to your skin.