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How Fast Does Vitiligo Spread?


Today is 25 June – World Vitiligo Day and you are concerned to know more about it. What is vitiligo and how fast does vitiligo spread?

There are so many skin diseases discovered to date and many of them have no cure. Global warming has contributed greatly to increased skin infection cases. While a non-organic diet has added to the risks of catching autoimmune skin disorders.

This blog is so important for public awareness. It is because vitiligo is a rare autoimmune disorder and the spread is not contagious. However, people believe it is spread by touch. Stay connected, to know the facts like how fast does vitiligo spread.


What is Vitiligo?


Vitiligo is characterized as a chronic skin condition in which pale white patches form on the skin. Some vitiligo cases show only white skin patches while others show pale skin patches. In some cases, both types of skin patches are visible.

Why does skin change its color in a vitiligo patient? Keep reading to learn!

male vitiligo patient affected forearm

Body parts commonly affected by Vitiligo


Vitiligo may affect any skin area and commonly affected body parts are;

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Skin creases

Types of Vitiligo


In the early sections, you learned what is vitiligo and the common body parts affected. Let’s talk about the types of vitiligo before talking about how fast does vitiligo spread.

According to Wikipedia, there are 2 types of vitiligo.

  1. Segmental Vitiligo
  2. Non- Segmental Vitiligo

Non-segmental Vitiligo | Bilateral Vitiligo | Generalized Vitiligo


Symmetrical white patches when occurring on both sides of the body, then it is termed non-segmental vitiligo. The affected body parts include the back side of the hands, arms, elbows, feet, knees, and eyes. It is also the most common vitiligo type, diagnosed in 99% of vitiligo cases.

non-non-segmental vitiligosegmental vitiligo

Segmental Vitiligo | Unilateral Vitiligo | Localized Vitiligo


In this type of vitiligo, the white patches appear on a specific single area of the body. It occurs in 10% of the total vitiligo patients while it mostly affects children.

The onset of segmental vitiligo is early age and 3% of vitiligo children are diagnosed with this type of vitiligo.


segmental vitiligo

Symptoms of Vitiligo


The main symptom of vitiligo is a discolored patch or spot on the affected skin area. If there is a pale patch on your skin, it indicates that the area has little or no melanin. After all, melanin imbalance is the cause of loss of skin color.

Does vitiligo always spread to the face? A discolored patch can appear on any skin area, but the first skin area to get affected is one that is more exposed to sun rays like your face, arms, and hands. You may notice these patches in groin areas or armpits. Skin tone changes to many levels and appears as a complete loss of skin pigment.

Yet, you may have continuously been reminded that discolored patches indicate the vitiligo condition. Here are some other signs of vitiligo that you should follow to learn if you are likely a case of vitiligo or not.

  1. Premature gray or white hair
  2. Loss of eyelash color
  3. Color change in the retina
  4. Nose or mouth color loss
  5. Ear or eye inflammation resulting in deafness and vision disorders

Even knowing the symptoms, you cannot predict how will it affect your skin. Remember, the discolored patches are permanent – there is no cure.

Want to know how fast does vitiligo spread? Jump straight to the related section.


Etiology of Vitiligo


Basically, it is a pigmentary disorder. Vitiligo doesn’t just hurt your physical appearance, but also your psychological wellness. You may catch vitiligo at any age. Irrespective of skin type, skin color, and gender, both males and females are at equal risk of catching vitiligo.

Researchers have done a lot of work on discovering the etiology of vitiligo. Most of the research has suggested through evidence that vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder. Moreover, it was proposed that it is associated with underlying genetic risk factors.

To date, the causes of vitiligo are unknown, however, the pathophysiology is known. Other etiology theories include neurohumoral, cytotoxic, and oxidative stress. These theories have moderate evidence and are hence less used. Currently, researchers are studying melanocytorrhagy to learn the true etiology of vitiligo.

What does the autoimmune theory say? It suggests that a part of the body’s immune system attacks the natural pigment cells (melanocytes) which results in skin discoloration.

Melanin is produced by melanocytes and it is the reason behind your skin, hair, and eye color. So, is it a good thing if your immune system attacks these cells? Yet, researchers failed to answer this question. However, it is evident that both genetics and environmental stimuli contribute to this.


Risk Factors for Vitiligo


It is very important that you know what puts you at high risk of developing vitiligo. This will further help you to understand how fast does vitiligo spread. Let’s read in the next lines!

  • Past family history
  • Family history or any other autoimmune disorder
  • History of any autoimmune disorder
  • History melanoma
  • History of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Genetic mutations linked to generalized vitiligo


Prevalence of Vitiligo | Epidemiology of Vitiligo | How common is vitiligo?


As discussed earlier in the blog, vitiligo is a rare skin condition. So, its prevalence is low. However, it varies per region. Prevalence on the basis of gender indicates that women develop vitiligo earlier than men. Overall, the prevalence of vitiligo across all populations is 0.5% to 2% as published in a research article published on Karger with the topic headline ‘Vitiligo: A review’.

The prevalence of vitiligo in different regions is as follows;

  • US – 0.76% to 1.1%
  • UK – 0.06 to 2.28%
  • China – 0.56%
  • Germany – 0.77%
  • India – 0.24% to 4%

As shown from the above statistics, the Indian population is highly vulnerable to vitiligo. Are you more excited to know how fast does vitiligo spread? Hold on, you will learn it soon. Keep reading!

In individuals with positive family history, the onset of vitiligo is reported to occur early. Moreover, the prevalence of vitiligo among young ladies (around age 30) is recorded as higher than in young males. Women are more probable to develop vitiligo in the first decade of life. However, men’s peak prevalence is recorded at age 50 and higher. Taking seasons into the account, this skin disorder is usually diagnosed in the spring and summer seasons.

If you want to learn about other health issues in young people, read this article – Healthy Diet: Know What 2 Things Are Missing!.

How fast does vitiligo spread?


Before learning how fast vitiligo spread, let’s first learn how vitiligo spread! This section will further highlight the possible ways to stop vitiligo spread.

How does vitiligo spread? As told earlier in the blog that vitiligo doesn’t spread by touch and also it is not a contagious skin disorder. So, you can sit, eat and sleep comfortably with vitiligo patients. You may experience the symptoms on the body parts that receive the most sun rays.

Can vitiligo appear overnight? Yes, it happens, but there is no theory to explain how long it takes for the symptoms to appear once the disease develops.

How does vitiligo start? A small white spot forms anywhere on your skin and it then spreads to the surrounding areas. However, there are 2 patterns. In one case, the discolored spot will widen and appear as a large discolored patch in the same area. While in the other case, the size of the discolored spot remains the same and changes the location. It may happen that vitiligo affects skin tissues to heal in one area, but at the same time, damages other skin area tissues.

Let’s come back to the answer to your question, ‘how fast does vitiligo spread?’. Remember, the vitiligo spread pattern is not fixed. Some vitiligo patients may report that the condition worsened a few months after the first spot appeared. Further, the spread will stop suddenly. It is difficult to track the spread of a vitiligo lesion. It may happen that the spots you treated turn brown and new white spots reappear.

There are multiple factors that determine how fast does vitiligo spread. It may spread faster if the affected part is exposed to UV rays for longer. The spread of vitiligo is faster in females during pregnancy. Moreover, emotionally stressed or mentally distressed individuals will also report fast vitiligo spread.

Next, let’s about how fast does vitiligo spread among adults. In old age, vitiligo may appear if you get a physical injury like a bruise, blunt injury, or amputation surgery. However, there is no association between gender and the vitiligo spread as both genders are equally affected. You should not ignore the genetic causes of the spread of vitiligo.


how fast does vitiligo spread


Is the vitiligo spread preventable or stoppable?


You may rely on natural remedies to slow or stop the vitiligo spread. There is no effective medical treatment proposed to date, however, ayurvedic treatment options are there. The first recommendation is to use aloe vera. It is rich in antioxidants and contains all essential nutrients to prevent vitiligo spread.

As oxidative stress is the leading risk factor of vitiligo, so you may prevent vitiligo spread by adopting stress-releasing workout practices like yoga. Moreover, you can intake Vit. C & E supplement for combating oxidative stress.

Use sunscreens while going out as there is strong evidence of the association between UV rays and vitiligo spread.

The patient may be required to follow a treatment plan and some precautions as suggested by the doctor.


Take Away!


On this World Vitiligo Day, let’s take an oath that you will help vitiligo patients fight the disease. Remember, it is not a contagious disease, and also it is not life-risking. The worst consequence, it has on the affected individual is impaired mental health. You read about how fast does vitiligo spread, and also how this can be slowed or stopped. If you are a vitiligo fighter, share your journey in the comment section to motivate others.

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