DESCRIPTIONVitiligo is loss of skin pigmentation in patches. This can affect children of any race or ethnic group. The skin on the back of the hands, face, and armpits is involved. Vitiligo can affect both sexes from late childhood (9 to 12 years) to mid-adulthood.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSThey are flat and white and can't be felt with the fingers.
They spread to form very large, irregularly-shaped areas without pigmentation.
They are usually on both sides of the child's body in approximately the same place.
Their size varies from 2mm or 3mm to several centimeters in diameter.
They don't hurt or itch the child.
Macules (small areas of different skin color) or patches on your child, with the following characteristics:
Probably autoimmune disease. The pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) don't function normally, allowing destruction of pigment. Once the child's pigment has been destroyed, melanocytes can't produce more pigment.
RISK FACTORSFamily history of vitiligo.
Thyroid or adrenal disease.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCECannot be prevented at present.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSThe disorder may never disappear completely, causing permanent disfigurement of the child.
PROBABLE OUTCOMETreatment is prolonged and often unsatisfactory. Complete and permanent repigmentation is rarely possible. Treatment consists of using an oral medication called psoralens. When discontinued, most of the pigmentation your child has regained is usually lost.
It is impossible to predict how much improvement will occur in your child with treatment. Children and young adults and those who obtain treatment early usually respond best. Allow 1 year to evaluate results.
If your child chooses not to use oral medication (of if it is unsuccessful), the lesions can be covered with waterproof, opaque makeup such as Lydia O'Leary's Cover Mark.
If your child doesn't use cosmetic makeup, sunscreen should be applied to protect areas without pigment from sun damage.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe psoralens, which stimulates pigmentation from healthy pigment cells bordering damaged cells. Results may be disappointing and adverse effects are frequent.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of vitiligo.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.