Vitiligo is the loss of skin pigment and causes white patches of normal feeling skin. Other than the loss of pigment in the skin, this condition is in no way dangerous, nor is it contagious.
More common on areas of skin exposed to sunlight, vitiligo is thought to occur when immune cells attack and destroy cells that produce brown pigment (melanocytes).
Certain autoimmune conditions have been associated with vitiligo. They include Addison's disease, hyperthyroidism and pernicious anemia.
Vitiligo can occur at any age and in every ethnic group.
Typically, vitiligo will appear on the face, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals.
There are no standard treatments for vitiligo. Phototherapy has had some success as have some creams and ointments.
For some people skin grafting is their solution of choice. Many types of make up are used to cover the patches.