Vitiligo: A review of the published work


Nooshin Bagherani, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Emam Khomeini Hospital, PO Box 61335 – 4156, 61335 Ahvaz, Iran. Email:


Vitiligo is a common depigmenting skin disorder, characterized by acquired, idiopathic, progressive, circumscribed hypomelanosis of the skin and hair, with total absence of melanocytes microscopically. It occurs worldwide, with an incidence rate of between 0.1% and 2%. Vitiligo is an important skin disease having a major impact on the quality of life of the patient suffering from it. The causes of this condition are uncertain but seem to be dependent on the interaction of genetic, immunological and neurological factors. Vitiligo coexists with other autoimmune disorders, Sutton or halo nevus, and malignant melanoma. The substantial disfigurement associated with vitiligo can cause serious emotional stress for the patient, which necessitates treatment. Because its pathogenesis is still not understood, there is a plethora of different treatments. Among them, topical steroids and narrowband ultraviolet B monotherapy were the most common as current treatments for localized and generalized vitiligo, respectively. Cosmetic improvement can be achieved by camouflage products and self-tanning dyes. The course of vitiligo is unpredictable, but often progressive. Spontaneous repigmentation may occur in a few people (10–20%), mainly in children, but this tends to be only partial and on sun-exposed areas. In this article, we review vitiligo as a whole, including epidemiology, pathogenesis and etiology, histopathology, clinical manifestations, classification, clinical variants, diagnosis and differential diagnoses, specific investigation, treatment, prognosis, psychosocial view and its association with other disorders.