Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition characterized by portions of the skin losing their pigment. It occurs when skin pigment cells die or are unable to function. Aside from cases of contact with certain chemicals, the cause of vitiligo is unknown. Research suggests vitiligo may arise from autoimmune, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. The global incidence of vitiligo is less than 1%, with some populations averaging 2–3% and rarely as high as 16%.
About 1 million Americans have vitiligo, and the condition affects about 1 in 200 people worldwide.
There is no cure for vitiligo but several treatment options are available. The best evidence is for applied steroids and the combination of ultraviolet light in combination with creams. Due to the higher risks of skin cancer, the United Kingdom's National Health Service suggests phototherapy only be used if primary treatments are ineffective.
Mayo Clinic Researchers in United States are conducting basic and clinical research on the prevention, control, and treatment of Vitiligo.