1. What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin disorder characterised by white spots in the skin. These spots occur when pigment cells called "melanocytes" are destroyed and the pigment melanin can no longer be produced. Pigment cells are present throughout the skin, hair, mouth, eyes and some part of the nervous system and they can be damaged or destroyed in any of these areas.
2. What is the cause of Vitiligo?
The precise cause of Vitiligo is not known. A combination of genetic, immunological and neurogenic factors is of major importance in most cases. Trauma of any kind (physical, mechanical, chemical, emotional) too can trigger off the disease process. Stress is often implicated as a trigger factor.
Vitiligo affects at least 1% of the population. About 30% of all vitiligo patients say that other family members also have this condition. Even though most people with vitiligo are in good general health, they face a greater risk of having hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, vitamin B12 deficiency, Addison's disease (adrenal dysfunction), Alopecia areata (round patches of hair loss) and or uveitis (inflammation with the eyes).
About 50% of all Vitiligo patients develop the disease in childhood/adolescence before the age of 20. Although largely similar to the disease in adults, childhood Vitiligo is a distinct subset of Vitiligo with a higher incidence of family history of autoimmune or endocrine diseases, early or premature greying and poor response too topical PUVA.
3. What is the treatment for freckles?
Freckle prevention is mandatory in people with hereditary tendencies. They should start sun protection early in childhood.
Several safe and effective methods are available to help lighten or reduce the appearance of freckles. Frequently, multiple or a combination of treatments may be required for best results. Cryosurgery, Laser treatments, Photo-facials or Intense Pulsed Light may help lighten and decrease the appearance of freckles safely and effectively. Chemical peels can also help lighten freckles and improve irregular pigmentation.