Vitiligo is the disease of the skin characterized by loss of normal color of the skin. It shows in the form of white or pinkish irregular patches on the skin. Vitiligo can be seen on anywhere on the body like forearms, upper back, neck, face shoulders, shins etc. However, Vitiligo is not the only disease characterized by appearance of white patches on the skin. There are many other skin conditions which represent as a white patch on the skin and they look like Vitiligo.
Disease conditions mistaken for Vitiligo:
Following diseases generally, are mistaken for Vitiligo.
- Tenia versicolor: This is caused by fungal infection. It is also called as Pityriasis versicolor. School going kids usually get affected by this condition. It shows itself in the form of white patch with fine dry scaly surface of the skin. Cheeks, face, back etc are the common site of affection by Tenia versicolor. It can develop due to oily skin, living in warm and humid surroundings and not maintaining personal hygiene.
- Pityriasis Alba: This condition is also found in children. Generally, boys are more affected than girls. It represents itself in the form of white patch mostly on the face. This is most commonly seen in winter months and usually, it is a self-limiting condition. Cases with more severity need to consult an expert dermatologist.
- Piebaldism: It is a congenital condition that means the disease is present at birth. It is an autosomal dominant disease characterized by the absence of melanocytes from the affected part of the skin. It presents itself in the form of scattered normal pigmented and hypo pigmented patches on the forehead.
- Idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis: This disease is characterized by multiple, rounded or tear shaped light colored patches that appear on the body parts that are exposed to the sun. Like limbs, shin, and forearm. It also affects the other body parts. Generally, people above the age of 40 years are affected by this disease.
- White scars: The scar from any injury may leave a white spot on the skin after healing. At times it may look like Vitiligo. The nature and extent of injury determines the scar formation on the skin. If the melanocytes are destroyed completely then the scar may have a faulty pigmentation.
- Leprosy: leprosy is a bacterial infection of the skin. In this condition, light colored patches with loss of sensation and loss of hair is seen on the skin. Vitiligo is caused by loss or destruction of skin pigment called melanin. It is not caused by any infection.
- Addison’s disease: It is a hormonal disorder caused by the inefficiency of adrenal glands to produce enough amount of hormone called cortisone. It is characterized by the darkening of the skin.
- Scleroderma: In this skin condition there is a hardening of the skin with shiny patches on them. The movement of the affected part is restricted.
- Chemical leukoderma: exposure to certain chemicals causes hypo pigmented patches on the skin, this is called as chemical leukoderma. The patches look similar to Vitiligo patches.
- Nevus anemicus: it is characterized by skin patches which are of different size and shape. They are paler than the normal skin.
- Halo nevus: it is a kind of mole which is surrounded by depigmented ring. They develop around the existing mole. The exact cause of developing Halo nevus is unknown.
Vitiligo: Controllable or Curable?
For accurate diagnosis of Vitiligo patients are requested to consult a dermatologist. The experience of the doctor, examination of the patch under Wood’s Lamp and a few laboratory tests like thyroid profile can help in diagnosis of Vitiligo. (put an image of wood’s lamp)
In rare condition skin biopsy is advised by the doctor.
Expert’s experienced eyes; examination with Wood’s lamp and other laboratory tests like skin biopsy can differentiate Vitiligo from similar skin conditions and confirm the diagnosis of Vitiligo.
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