Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition wherein the skin loses color due to destruction of the pigment producing cells we call melanocytes. Vitiligo presents as white patches on the skin, hair, and even within the eyes. Why this change occurs is thought to be related to an interplay of genetics and environmental factors.
Vitiligo can show up anywhere, but it does favor sites of previous skin injury, areas affected by acne and sunburns.
Unfortunately, vitiligo is an unpredictable clinical condition that is different in its behavior for every patient that we see in clinic. Treatments for vitiligo are few, but it is a hot topic for research these days. If you do see new white patches on your skin, speak to your doctor for consideration of a referral to a dermatologist. Your family physician may also do some general bloodwork to ensure your Vit. B 12 and thyroid levels are normal, as these are other autoimmune conditions that are described in association with vitiligo. And remember to use sun protective clothing when outdoors combined with a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, as these areas will have a tendency to burn very easily.