Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition which affects the skin’s pigmentation. The skin becomes de-pigmented and loses its colour due to damage or loss of melanocytes.
A person with vitiligo will have milky-white coloured patches of skin over the body alongside their normal skin. Vitiligo can have a significant effect on someone’s self-esteem.
A GP will want to know a few things when assessing for vitiligo:
- The areas of the body affected by skin changes
- Your age when you first noticed changes in your skin
- The way your skin responds to injuries like small cuts and abrasions
- Family history of vitiligo
- Your perception of the vitiligo and the impact it has on your life
They may also consider sending you for blood tests to screen for other autoimmune issues. This can include checking your thyroid function and vitamin b12 levels.
There are topical corticosteroid creams and topical calcineurin inhibitor creams/ointments which your GP may prescribe for a short period of time. However the extent of the vitiligo and the areas of skin affected will guide your treatment.
Your GP may also consider referring you to a dermatologist.
Taking care of your skin is very important with vitiligo. The white patches are more susceptible to sunburn so don’t forget to apply sunscreen, seek out shade and cover up your skin when outdoors. Vitiligo patches are also more likely to form from injured skin so cover your skin to prevent cuts and grazes.