As one of the key Vitiligo symptom, a sudden onset is seen in most cases where the patient notices a single, few or many milky white patches of irregular shapes and sizes on the skin. Small areas of de-pigmentation gradually start spreading to involve larger areas of the body. The patches appear more prominent in dark-skinned people and can be quite disfiguring at times.
As far as the progress and reasons for white spot on skin are concerned, it is highly unpredictable. Some cases experience an extremely fast advancement with quick involvement of large areas of the body whereas in some cases there may be few small patches that don't change much with time. The active phase of development of new patches can be followed by a phase where there are no new patches.
The affected areas retain the normal sensitivity to touch and pain; however sun-sensitivity is seen to be increased in many cases. Other Vitiligo symptom may be that the hair over the affected parts, such as skin, scalp, beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, etc. may also lose colour.
Over a period of time, some of the Vitiligo patches may re-pigment by themselves.
The patches of Vitiligo can affect any part of the body though sun-exposed regions, body folds (e.g. groins, armpits), areas around body orifices or sites of previous injury are commonly affected. Following are some of the common patterns of body affection seen in Vitiligo patients:
- Focal: The patches are limited to particular areas of the body
- Segmental: The distribution of the patches is usually asymmetrical affecting one side of body
- Symmetrical: Bilaterally symmetrical patches over the body
- Generalized: Widespread patches spread all over the body
- Over Bony Prominences: The skin near the joints is affected by the patches
- Lip-tip Vitiligo: Vitiligo that is limited to the lips, tips of the fingers and toes, fingertips
- Genital Vitiligo: The private parts of the body are affected