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Vitiligo: Early Signs, Symptoms & Causes

Symptoms of Vitiligo

As a healthcare provider, I always emphasize to my patients the importance of understanding Vitiligo’s early warning signs, symptoms, and causes. By understanding the triggers contributing to Vitiligo, it becomes easier for the patients can take the necessary steps to manage the condition effectively.

Did you know that Vitiligo is a common skin disorder that affects up to 1% of the world’s population? Despite its prevalence, vitiligo remains a poorly understood condition, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.

Vitiligo leads to loss of skin color in patches all over the body. The condition can affect any part of the body, including the patient’s hair and the inside of the oral cavity. The loss of pigment in certain areas on the skin is either classified as macules (if it’s less than 1 cm in width) or patches (if it’s larger than 1 cm).

This article will explore more about Early Signs, Symptoms & Causes of Vitiligo that most of us often don’t pay close attention to.

What is Vitiligo?

According to biological science and medicine, Vitiligo is a common skin disorder that happens when the body’s melanin-producing cells die or malfunction, which is localized before and then gradually spreads.

This causes the skin to lose its natural color, resulting in the appearance of white- or light-colored patches all over the skin. The condition can reportedly affect anyone, irrespective of age, race, or gender.

However, Vitiligo is “more noticeable” in people with darker complexions. It is a non-threatening disorder medically but affects the patient’s quality of life, especially their confidence and body image.

Related Blogs: Leucoderma: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Who is at Higher Risk of Developing Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a progressive disease, meaning that the onset of the condition starts with the appearance of a few patches or macules on certain parts of the body and gradually spreads to other visible body parts, including the legs, hands, forearm, face, etc.

With hundreds and thousands of patients that walk in through the doors of our clinic at Kayakalp Global, the most common question that they have is, “Am I at risk of developing Vitiligo?”

Vitiligo isn’t one of those disorders that only affect certain races or gender. In fact, anyone can develop this condition due to a myriad of conditions, which we will discuss further in the article.

However, recent studies indicate that patients with certain autoimmune disorders are at heightened risk of developing Vitiligo at some point in their lifetime. So, having any of the following conditions might enhance your chances of developing Vitiligo but doesn’t 100% mean that you will have it.

These disorders include:

  • Addison’s disease
  • Anemia. Diabetes (Type 1)
  • Lupus
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid disease

If you have been diagnosed with other autoimmune disorders, your risk of developing vitiligo is higher. This is no surprise, considering that vitiligo itself is categorized as an autoimmune disorder.

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 Blogs: White Vitiligo Patches on Lips: Causes, And Its Early Treatment

Causes of Vitiligo

Before we discuss the early signs and symptoms, let us understand the Vitiligo causes first. In hindsight, we know that permanent damage to the melanin-producing cells leads to the onset of vitiligo.

But is that all? Surprisingly no. Multiple factors actively contribute to the onset and progress of the disease.

  1. Autoimmune disorder – This happens when the body’s immune system mistakes the healthy melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) as foreign bodies, attacking and damaging them in the process. In the long run, the immune system produces antibodies against these melanocytes, killing them in the process and forming white or light-colored patches on the body.
  2. Genetic issues – Studies indicate that our bodies have 30+ genes, which increase our risk of vitiligo. So, any kind of prevalent genetic mutation in one of these 30 genes can result in vitiligo in the patient.
  3. Stress – Stress that is induced after a severe injury is another potential factor that enhances the risks of vitiligo in patients.
  4. External triggers – Chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sunlight or toxic chemicals leads to enhanced risks of melanocyte depletion and damage in the body.
  5. Existing autoimmune disorder – If you are already diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, that further enhances the risks of you developing vitiligo.

In hindsight, many patients coming for a consultation at Kayakalp Global often have this misconception that 100% of vitiligo cases are due to genetic predisposition, which isn’t the case. Instead, roughly 30% of vitiligo cases are genetic.

Related Blogs: White Vitiligo Patches on Lips: Causes, And Its Early Treatment

Signs & Symptoms of  Vitiligo

As we previously discussed, Vitiligo is a progressive disease. This means that you will notice the gradual development and spread of the white and discolored patches on the skin. It doesn’t happen overnight.

That said, paying close attention to the changes in your skin is a great way to detect early signs of vitiligo disease. This is the first thing we prioritize at Kayakalp Global.

The primary symptom of vitiligo is the appearance of one or more areas of discoloration on the skin. However, some patients have extreme cases of vitiligo, which is marked by a variety of other symptoms, as discussed:

1. Patches that Turn White

When vitiligo is at its active stage, it can cause a range of skin discolorations, from pink to tricolor patches, that creates a zone of tan skin between a person’s natural skin color and the white vitiligo. It is a direct consequence of the ongoing damage that’s happening to the melanin in the skin. As the cell destruction eventually stops, the patches turn stark white in color.

2. Patches inside the Mouth and Nose

Not just the visible parts of the body, vitiligo white patches also appear inside the mouth and nose of the patients. It also appears on the eyelids and around the side of the eyes.

3. Patches are More Susceptible to Sunburn

The white patches due to vitiligo happen in areas where melanin production has stopped. With no melanin in the skin, the skin becomes more susceptible to sunburn when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods.

4. Itchiness

Although the white patches on the skin don’t cause any discomfort in most cases, some patients complain about experiencing itching in the white patches and the surrounding areas.

Related Blogs: Vitiligo And Skin Cancer Risk: What You Need To Know?

5. Hair Color Discoloration

Not just the skin, the lack of melanin also causes a person to lose their dark hair color. In most cases, patients experience their darker hair color turning white or grey in color.

6. Progressive Hearing Loss

Now, you must wonder, “How does the destruction of melanocytes contribute to hearing loss?” Fun fact, our inner ear consists of melanocytes, and hence the destruction of these cells due to vitiligo leads to the patient eventually experiencing hearing loss.

7. Changes in Eye Color

Vitiligo also leads to potential changes in the patient’s eye color. In rare cases, the patient might also lose their eyesight.

Besides the physical vitiligo symptoms, the condition also affects the patient’s emotional well-being, leading to issues with:

  • Self-consciousness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger and embarrassment
  • Frustration

Many patients with vitiligo often feel like they are alone. However, your struggles (both physical and mental) are addressed with utmost care at Kayakalp Global.

Related Blogs: Can Vitiligo Spread from One Person To Next?


Millions of people globally struggle with vitiligo disease and its physical symptoms and emotional turmoil. While the condition isn’t life-threatening, people do struggle with the emotional consequences that come with the disease. Timely diagnosis and the art of re-pigmentation can help patients restore their quality of life over time, helping them be more comfortable in their own skin. 

At Kayakalp Global, we leverage the combination and efficacy of Ayurvedic and modern medicine to treat the individual holistically. With the right treatment and Kayakalp’s maintenance treatment plan, you will be able to enhance your quality of life for the better.

Related Blogs: Vitiligo On Dark Skin: Prevalence, Causes, And Treatments

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Is Vitiligo Contagious?

Vitiligo is a common skin disorder that leads to discoloration on the skin in the form of patches and macules due to the destruction of the melanocytes on the skin. However, it is not contagious and cannot spread through physical or sexual contact in any form.

2. Does the Appearance of All White Spots on the Skin Lead to Vitiligo?

Not every white spot or patch on the skin is regarded as Vitiligo. Instead of self-diagnosis, it is essential patients consult an experienced doctor to get a conclusive diagnosis. There are a few other contagious disorders like Nevus, leprosy, fungal infections, etc., which can cause white spots on the skin.

3. Can Vitiligo Go Back to Normal?

There is no permanent cure available for vitiligo. However, medical advancements and Ayurveda have now made it possible for doctors to help patients even out their skin tone, helping the white patches blend in with the remainder of the skin’s natural appearance.

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