Before we get to understand about the loss of color from the skin in Vitiligo, let us first see how the skin gets its normal color. A pigment called melanin imparts the skin (as well as hair) the native color. This pigment is produced in cells called 'melanocytes'. When the melanocytes die or are unable to function, it results in loss of melanin causing color-less, white patches on the skin.
Vitiligo is a chronic disorder and tends to run a variable and often unpredictable course. It affects up to 2% of the population globally and the incidence is almost double this (3 to 4%) in India and Mexico. People of different races, religions, ethnic groups, socio-economic groups and with different dietary habits are affected by this condition.
Vitiligo affects males and females equally and it is commonly seen in children as well. The incidence is higher in children whose both parents are affected by Vitiligo. By and large, people who develop it are between 10 to 30 years of age and most of those who develop this, do so before 40 years of age.
The goal of most treatment options available today is largely to stop or slow down the progression of pigment loss and to attempt the re-pigmentation in affected areas.