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Vetiligo - what is it?

The ability of skin cells to form the pigment melanin is a specific mechanism for its protection against ultraviolet radiation. Violations of melanin pigmentation (melanosis) have a variety of clinical manifestations. The most common disease of hypomelanosis is vitiligo.

Vitiligo is a disease from the group of dyschromia (hypopigmentation) of the skin, which is characterized by the development of depigmented spots of white color due to the loss or decrease in the function of melanocytes, especially in the skin, hair, retina and, possibly, in the soft meninges. The word “vitiligo” comes from lat. “Vitilus” is a calf, there is also an opinion about the origin of this word from (from Latin Vitium - vice, spoilage), synonyms - dog, piebald skin (Fig. 2 and 3).

Vitiligo suffers about 4% of the world's population. The disease can begin at any age, but more often occurs before the age of 20 years, which entails serious cosmetic defects and psychological problems. The color of the skin is formed due to many factors, but the main role is played by the pigment melanin. The only source of melanin formation in humans is the amino acid L-tyrosine, the multistage conversion of which, with the participation of copper and zinc ions, leads to the formation of pigment. That is why the insufficient intake of copper and zinc to skin cells is one of the main factors in the development of vitiligo. Melanin is formed and accumulates in the form of granules in special cells - melanocytes located in the epidermis.
The process of pigmentation is particularly active under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. Vitiligo is characterized by the destruction of melanocytes or a decrease in their functional activity. Currently, it is believed that this is due to violations of the local immunity system, when under the influence of various reasons, immune defense cells begin to have a detrimental effect on melanocytes, which leads to the disappearance of the pigment. The skin loses its natural color and becomes milky white. In long-existing foci, melanocytes are absent, in fresh areas a small number of them with a reduced function is detected. Spots with vitiligo can appear on any part of the skin, but more often it is the rear of the hands, forearms, face and neck. Spots can be of various sizes and shapes, can gradually increase and merge with each other. In foci of vitiligo, hair may also bleach. However, it must be remembered that hair with vitiligo does not fall out and does not break off. In the foci there is no peeling, itching, swelling. Most often, foci of vitiligo become noticeable in the summer, against a tan. In these cases, you must be very careful, since skin without pigment is devoid of natural protection from ultraviolet radiation and quickly burns out. If vitiligo symptoms appear, you should consult a dermatologist to make a diagnosis and exclude diseases with a similar clinical picture.
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Vetiligo - what is it?

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