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Vitiligo: Frequently Asked Questions

QWhat is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin disorder where skin looses it color pigment called melanin. There may either be destruction of melanin or loss of melanin pigments.

QWhat is leucoderma?

Leucoderma and vitiligo practically mean the same. Leuco= white and derma= skin. While patches on skin is called leucoderma. However, every case of leucoderma may not be vitiligo. Leucoderma is a term more commonly used in Asian countries.

More information on vitiligo is given on this link.

QWhat are the causes of leucoderma (vitiligo)?

The exact cause of vitiligo is not very clearly understood. However, there are several theories which are explained in detail on this page:

QNo one in my family has vitiligo. How did I get it?

One can get vitiligo even if no one in the family has or had vitiligo. Most patients of vitiligo have family history of one of the autoimmune diseases such as Vitiligo, diabetes, hypothyroidalopecia areata, cancer, etc., which is suggestive of genetic link. Many times patients may not be fully aware of the relevant family history.

QHow serious is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is NOT a serious disease. In fact, it is one of the most benign conditions that our body can have. I suggest my write up on this topic at

QIs vitiligo infectious? Can others touch me if I have vitiligo?

Vitiligo does not spread by touch. It is not caused by any germs such as bacteria or virus. It is 100% safe to touch one who has vitiligo. It is a sign of ignorance if one avoids touching the person who has vitiligo.

QShould I stop eating some food articles if I have vitiligo?

Some instructions about food have been described on this link:

QMy child / I have vitiligo. How do we cope up with the stress?

Please read a small write up on "How to cope up with vitiligo?" at

QI have vitiligo. I fear that it will spread. What are the chances of spread?

It is not possible to predict if one's vitiligo would spread. The experience shows that there are some criteria which make on prone to extensive vitiligo. Some to the factors which increase the chances of spread, though it is not a rule, are:

1. Strong family history of vitiligo
2. Appearance of vitiligo spots on both sides (bilateral) of the body, including finger tips, toes, and lips. 
3. Associated with hypothyroid (under active thyroid) or diabetes.

QI also have Under active thyroid (hypothyroid) with vitiligo. However, my thyroid is well controlled with medicine. How would it help my vitiligo?

Controlled Under Active Thyroid will help controlling your vitiligo. However, it has been observed that even if your thyroid levels are normal, somehow, you still are at higher risk of having spread of vitiligo.

QIs sun exposure harmful on the vitiligo spots?

Exposure of vitiligo spots to the rising sun and the setting sun is useful to vitiligo spots. The gentle sunlight is useful in vitiligo and helps for natural re-pigmentation.

Due to lack of melanin, the patches of vitiligo on skin have no natural protection against the sun's rays. Therefore, the most important reason for protecting your skin is to prevent sunburn and cancer of skin. Exposure to sun is not likely to increase vitiligo. However, the sun exposure might tan the skin making the vitiligo spot look more prominent.

Exposure to the harsh sunlight should be avoided, and if the person experiences sunburn or discomfort, then patient should use sun block creams, or a cap, or full clothes, or use an umbrella.

QWhat is the conventional treatment for vitiligo?

The conventional treatment comprises of use of

1. Corticosteroids (local and oral)

2. Psoralen

3. Immunosuppressants such as Cortisone, Tacros.

4. Phototherapy

5. Skin grafting and cosmetic surgery, etc. 

QI have been prescribed cortisone (cortisone, steroids) which has helped, but I am getting more spots on my body.

It is a common experience of most clinicians that corticosteroids in the form of cream, oral or injections, may help the patient, initially; but it tends to lead to increase in the vitiligo spots on stopping it. Also, steroids have various adverse effects. You need to understand from your doctor the scope and limitation of the use of cortisone before you opt for it. Please check these two links: 1. Cortisone is no more effective as a long term treatment for Vitiligo. 2. Adverse effects of Cortisone

QWhat are the adverse effects of Cortisone?
QWhat is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine originated in Germany. Please click this for more information.What is Homeopathy

QHow does homeopathy treat vitiligo?

The homeopathic treatment treats vitiligo by possibly regulating the immune mechanism.
     > Controlling the spread of Vitiligo by attempting to correct the immune system
     > Enhancing the natural melanocyte formation (melanogenesis)
Please

QWhat is the strength and limitation of homeopathic treatment for the treatment of vitiligo?
QIf I am on the conventional medicines such as cortisone (steroids), can I start with homeopathy?


QDo I need to stop the conventional medicines if I have to start with homeopathy?

No. Initially, you have to continue both the medicines simultaneously. Once your vitiligo improves, you have to reduce the dose of the conventional medicines.

QAre there side effects of homeopathic medicines?

There are no bad adverse effects.

QDo they interact with the conventional medicines?

No. Homeopathic medicines can be safely taken with the conventional medicines.

QWhen do I start seeing improvement after starting homeopathy medicine?

Most patients start observing improvement within about six to eight weeks. Those who are on steroids may take time.

QIf I am on some other medications such as drugs for diabetes, hypertension, etc.; do I have to stop them while on homeopathy?

No. You can continue all other medicines for other diseases if you start with homeopathy. Homeopathy does not adversely interact with the conventional medicines.

QWhat are homeopathic medicines prepared from?

The homeopathic medicines are largely sources from minerals, herbs, chemicals, etc. More information available at

QI am about to get married. Should I inform my would be husband/wife about my vitiligo?

Actually, this is a social question and not a medical question. It is entirely your choice to to inform your would be life partner with whom you are going to share whole of your life, that you have vitiligo.

It may be remembered that if you do not inform about your vitiligo, you will have a sense of guilt; as marriage is based on the foundation of trust. However, it is not within our scope to make any suggestion.

QI have received an offer for marriage alliance of a boy/girl who has vitiligo. Should I go ahead with the marriage with this person?

As described above, it is a social question rather than a medical. However, medically speaking, one has to understand that vitiligo is not a threat to health. It not a contagious disorder; it does not spread by touch. It has more of cosmetic angle. It is a paradox that people can accept their future life partners having disease like asthma, diabetes, migraine, allergies, etc. but not a benign condition such as vitiligo!

QDo homeopathic medicines contain steroids (cortisone)?