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White Patches are themselves a manifestation of Vitiligo. They may not be a life-threatening condition but its effect on the mind of the afflicted is devastating leading to poor self-esteem and body image issues. In most of the cases, white spots are likely to appear after the age of 40 years.
What is White Patches?
White Patches are loss of skin colour in blotches as a result of the disease ‘Leucoderma’, which is commonly known as Vitiligo. It occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. The extent and rate of pigment loss in Vitiligo is unpredictable. It can affect the skin on any part of the body. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with a dark complexion.
In a general sense, Vitiligo can be divided into 3 segments with respect to the appearance of white patches.
- Focal - Pigment loss occurs in a single or few well-defined areas
- Segmental - Discolouration takes place in only one side of the body
- Generalized - Widespread colour loss; it may cover the entire body
White Patches affect both men and women. They may appear at any age, but the onset of this condition is generally observed between the age of 20 and 30 years. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. Majority of the victims of Vitiligo have normal skin sensation and texture and are otherwise completely healthy.