Vitiligo is a condition of losing color of skin, in blotches, with an unpredictable extent. Leucoderma is a similar acondition, however, it occurs only after physical trauma. Occurrence of Vitiligo is happened from multiple causes, such as hormonal changes, severe emotional trauma, typhoid, recurrent jaundice, prolonged corticosteroid or anti-biotic and similar auto-immune conditions. And combination of Vitiligo and Leucoderma is a condition of extensive white patched spread over the skin. Etymology of Leucoderma indicates it as a combination of Leuco, which stands for white and Derma stands for skin.
Darker skin people are more prone to get affected by Leucoderma. Approximately 2 percent of global population and 4 percent of tropical countries’ population, like Mexico, India are affected by Leucoderma.
For both the conditions of Vitiligo and Leucoderma, pigment, which is the decision factor of skin complexion, gets lost by the skin. Eventually, milky white or pale white and irregular patches are formed on the skin. These patches are usually sudden, irregular or random on the skin surface and spread so rapidly over different parts of the body. They start experiencing increased sensitivity to sunlight, though sensitivity to touch and heat doesn’t get changed. Eventually, they may confine themselves to stay indoors. Sometimes automatic re-pigmentation happens, without the need for medical intervention and treatment, by the dermatologists.
Leucoderma and Vitiligo are sometimes source of immense stress, especially for the younger men and women, who are in marriageable age, people in the roles of customer-facing. When Leucoderma occurs in early age, children become the most susceptible section. The most affected age group is in between 10 years to 30 years and till 40 years, it is most likely to occur.
The major causes of white patches are loss of existing melanin or new melanocytes defective formation. Though direct and specific cause is not yet discovered by the scientists, usually, these conditions are results of auto-immune, stress, environmental and genetic factors. Other important factors for white patches or Leucoderma or Vitiligo are hypertheyrodism, psoriasis, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, alopecia areata, pernicious anaemia, diabetes. Some other factors, which can influence the white patches are emotional or physical trauma, sun burns, exposure to the chemicals, like phenolic or catecholic derivatives, which would trigger the process of de-pigmentation and hereditary factors.
According to the research conducted, NALP1 genes, when triggered can cause the white patches.
Types of White Patches
Diagnosis for Leucoderma and Vitiligo starts with complete examination and identification of the white patches. The affected area and limbs are examined more clearly under the lamp of wood, since naked eye cannot identify certain kind of white patches. Further confirmation of the skin disease, Leucoderma and Vitiligo is done through biopsy of the area affected.
Other important diagnosis procedures followed to confirm the skin disease, are…
- Thyroid working is examined, whether it is under-working or over-working , through blood tests.
- Anaemia status is examined, whether exists or not, through another blood test.
- Presence of anti-nuclear antibodies is determined, since it is an indication of auto-immune disease.
After diagnosis, two different types of treatments are performed to cure white patches.
- The major treatment is re-pigmentation over the affected area, which would slow down pigmentation loss through arresting pigment loss. And phototherapy is administered under medical supervision.
- Treatment is also given with psoralen, which is a significant component to treat white patches. Psoralen has high property of high ultra-violet absorption and so it stands ideal compound to apply over the affected skin area. Then white patches are cured by applying ultra-violet light over these applied psolaren compounds. When different formulations, such as dapsone, phenyl amine and levamisole are combined with cortico steroids can help to treat white patches with higher degree of success.
Leucoderma and Vitiligo can be treated to clear white patches to a maximum extent, when identified earlier and when treated through expert dermatologists.