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Is Vitiligo Related to Heredity Or Is It Genetic?

Is Vitiligo Hereditary

With the development in research that has happened over the years, studies indicate that Vitiligo is mostly an autoimmune disorder. Although, some cases of melanocyte destruction are relayed by oxidative stress as well. Tying in with that, the next question that comes to people’s minds is, “Is vitiligo hereditary or is it genetic?”

As a leading center of Vitiligo Treatment in India, one of the most common questions that our patients ask us in panic is, “Will my children acquire vitiligo down the road because I have it too?” This is not just a common but a highly justifiable question among the patients experiencing the condition.

Present evidence depicts that vitiligo might also have a genetic component to it. In fact, studies also indicate that the chances of acquiring vitiligo increase in patients whose parents have vitiligo. As confusing as everything sounds right now, let us break things down for better understanding.

Breaking down the Numbers – Genetic Predisposition to Vitiligo

Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disorder, which occurs when the melanin-producing melanocytes are damaged beyond repair.

Now, the next question is, “How much does the risk of vitiligo increase if it’s in the genetics of the patient?”

  • In the general population, the risks of developing vitiligo are 1%.
  • In people whose parents have a history of vitiligo, the risk of developing white patches on the skin increases to 2-5%.
  • In people with genetic predisposition and additional chronic diseases like thyroid disorder, diabetes, etc., the risks of vitiligo are between 25-50%, which is substantially high. This is because most of these chronic diseases are triggered by an autoimmune pathway, which can trigger the onset of vitiligo as well.

At Kayakalp Global, we often have worried parents enquiring about the chances of their children getting vitiligo down the road. Besides understanding the above-mentioned numbers and the role of genetics in vitiligo, there are a series of additional triggers, which we highlight to our patients as well.

| Related: What Are The Main Reason For Spreading Of Vitiligo And How I Can Stop It |

Understanding the Causes of Vitiligo

In order to better understand the correlation between vitiligo and genetics, we first need to understand the pivotal causes that contribute to the development of this autoimmune disorder in the first place.

We now know that the appearance of the white patches on the skin of vitiligo patients is caused by the “lack of melanin,” which is caused due to melanocyte destruction in the skin. The lack of melanocytes in those specific parts of the skin is what leads to the development of white patches.

There are a few “possible” causes that contribute to the development of the different types of vitiligo, including:

  • Autoimmune response or diseases
  • Genetics (more on this will be discussed next)
  • History of skin cancer
  • History of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Release of neurochemicals into the skin

Despite the advancements in vitiligo research, to this day, there is no clear reasoning behind the onset of vitiligo in the patient’s skin. Also, the condition can develop at any age. At Kayakalp Global, we have even treated infants of 2 months with segmental vitiligo. That’s how uncertain the condition is.

| Related: Vitiligo and Skin Cancer Risk: What you need to know |

Correlation Between Vitiligo and Genetics

Now that you have a clear understanding of vitiligo and its potential causes, let us look into the role of the genetics behind the onset and development of vitiligo in patients.

In research conducted in the 1950s, the researchers found that vitiligo is, in fact, a genetic condition that is termed a “complex inheritance.” The research looked into eight families with a history of vitiligo and how it presents in the next generations of families.

Vitiligo is genetic because it involves the interaction of two or more genetic abnormalities. The study even found that 7% of people that are genetically linked to a vitiligo patient have a predisposition to the condition and will develop it down the road in their life.

Furthermore, people with the genetic correlation also have higher risks of developing vitiligo earlier in their life and have a heightened chance of having the white patches spread out throughout the body due to the genetic factor.

| Related: Early Stages of Vitiligo: Steps to Cure |

Is Vitiligo Hereditary?

At first glance, we often get confused between the terms “hereditary” and “genetic” diseases, thinking that they are the same thing.

Surprisingly, there is a difference between the two. To dispel the myth that Vitiligo is hereditary, we have to first understand what it means and how it is different from a genetic predisposition.

Vitiligo, as we mentioned before, follows a process called “complex inheritance.” This means that it doesn’t follow the exact same rules as a hereditary disease. Hereditary conditions typically develop due to a single abnormal gene but the latest studies indicate that vitiligo is typically caused due to abnormalities in two or more genes, indicating that the condition is primarily genetic and not hereditary.

So, when someone asks, “Is vitiligo hereditary?”, the answer is a partial no. It is mostly genetic.

Vitiligo treatment with Kayakalp Global


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Vitiligo treatment with Kayakalp Global


Free Consultation


Most Affordable Treatment


1,00,000 + Happy Patients


FSSAI Approved


Treatment at Home


25 + years of doctors experience

| Related: Vitiligo: Types of vitiligo, Treatment Options available for Vitiligo Disease |

How are Vitiligo Patients with a Genetic Predisposition Treated at Kayakalp Global?

When it comes to vitiligo treatment, the process is pretty much the same for every patient, irrespective of the cause or trigger contributing to the disease.

At Kayakalp Global, our treatment starts with a free consultation, which we provide via WhatsApp. Once the initial consultation is out of the way, next comes the comprehensive diagnosis process.

Typically, our specialists focus on finding the root cause contributing to the white patches on the skin. This is the first step towards a tailored treatment approach.

Once we understand what’s majorly triggering the onset of vitiligo in the patient, the next step is prescribing our oral medications and a topical ointment, Sargan Plus.

There are strict procedures that need to be followed with these medications, especially with the topical application of the ointment. The application should be followed by a specific period of sun exposure for optimal re-pigmentation.

For children under one year, we only stick to the topical application of the ointment. The oral medications are prescribed once the child is over one year old. Our products and medications are safe and clinically certified to ensure no side effects and optimal results.

| Related: Vitiligo In Children: How To Support Your Child And Navigate The Challenges |


Research suggests that a combination of genetic factors, environmental triggers, and autoimmune responses may contribute to the development of vitiligo. At this point, studies have confirmed that vitiligo is, in fact, a genetic disorder. However, the advancements in the field of medicine have also made treatment and management a lot more accessible to patients.

Our specialists at Kayakalp Global are here to understand your concerns, assess the shortcomings, and offer tailored treatment plans for optimal results and improved quality of life. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can vitiligo be inherited from parents who are affected by it?

If a parent has a medical history of vitiligo, there is a 5% increased chance of the child developing vitiligo down the road. This means that the risks increase by 5 times if one’s parents have vitiligo.

2. Is vitiligo developed or is a person born with it?

Vitiligo is typically not a disease someone is born with, meaning that the baby doesn’t come out of the womb with white patches on the skin. However, the white patches can develop at any point of time after the child’s birth.

3. Is vitiligo a genetic disease and is it curable?

Vitiligo is genetic as we discussed in the previous sections in the article. When it comes to vitiligo management, an integrated approach with Allopathy and Ayurveda as we follow in Kayakalp Global, has proven results in re-pigmenting the skin and restoring the even skin tone in the affected parts of the skin.

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