What Causes Vitiligo?

Linked to Autoimmune Disorders

The cause of vitiligo is unknown at this time. It’s suspected to be related to autoimmune illnesses, where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues rather than invading cells like viruses or bacteria. The initial signs may appear in an area of the skin that has been severely sunburned.

Around 15 to 25% of individuals with vitiligo also have another autoimmune disease, such as hyperthyroidism—an overactive thyroid gland—rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, pernicious anemia, or Addison disease.

Can We Prevent Vitiligo?

It’s impossible to know where, when, or even whether you may develop vitiligo. We don’t understand why vitiligo develops, so there’s no way to prevent it. It’s thought to be caused by a mix of genetics and environmental factors, and it can strike at any age. Several elements, however, are considered to have an influential role in its onset:

  • Stress
  • Genetics – could be hereditary
  • Skin damage by severe sunburn or cuts
  • Issues with the liver or  kidneys
  • Adolescence or other hormonal changes in the body
  • Exposure to some harmful substances or chemicals

Vitiligo can also be triggered by products containing phenol, commonly known as carbolic acid or phenic acid. These items include:

  • Paints
  • Adhesives
  • Insecticides
  • Deodorants
  • Cosmetics
  • Disinfectants
  • Inks for printing
  • Paper duplication
  • Antioxidants in soap
  • Gloves made of latex
  • Detergents that kill germs
  • Oils made of synthetic materials
  • Resins for varnish and lacquer
  • Chemicals used in photography

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Are you dealing with a recent diagnosis or know someone who has vitiligo? We’re here to help you figure out what works best to manage symptoms and improve overall day-to-day life whether you or someone you love is affected.

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