Guideline for the diagnosis and management of vitiligo


  • Conflicts of interest
    No member of the Guideline Development Group has declared any interest in companies whose products are named in the guideline, or has had any sponsorship or consultancy from or with companies whose products are named in the guideline, or has had any editorial fees related to commissioned articles for publications named in the guideline, or has a patent pending or existing related to products named in the guideline. D.J.G. has been chairman of the Vitiligo Society’s Medical Advisory Board, and M.E.W. is a patron of the Vitiligo Society.

  • D.J.G., A.D.O., L.S., I.M.-S., M.E.W., M.J.W. and A.V.A. are members of the Guideline Development Group, and technical support was provided by J.I. and K.Y.

  • Contents: See Appendix 1

D.J. Gawkrodger, Department of Dermatology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield S10 2JF, U.K.


This detailed and user-friendly guideline for the diagnosis and management of vitiligo in children and adults aims to give high quality clinical advice, based on the best available evidence and expert consensus, taking into account patient choice and clinical expertise.

The guideline was devised by a structured process and is intended for use by dermatologists and as a resource for interested parties including patients. Recommendations and levels of evidence have been graded according to the method developed by the Scottish Inter-Collegiate Guidelines Network. Where evidence was lacking, research recommendations were made.

The types of vitiligo, process of diagnosis in primary and secondary care, and investigation of vitiligo were assessed. Treatments considered include offering no treatment other than camouflage cosmetics and sunscreens, the use of topical potent or highly potent corticosteroids, of vitamin D analogues, and of topical calcineurin inhibitors, and depigmentation with p-(benzyloxy)phenol. The use of systemic treatment, e.g. corticosteroids, ciclosporin and other immunosuppressive agents was analyzed.

Phototherapy was considered, including narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB), psoralen with ultraviolet A (UVA), and khellin with UVA or UVB, along with combinations of topical preparations and various forms of UV. Surgical treatments that were assessed include full-thickness and split skin grafting, mini (punch) grafts, autologous epidermal cell suspensions, and autologous skin equivalents. The effectiveness of cognitive therapy and psychological treatments was considered.

Therapeutic algorithms using grades of recommendation and levels of evidence have been produced for children and for adults with vitiligo.