What is Vitiligo?

Women diagnosed with vitiligo wearing a red scarf and a black jacket outside

Vitiligo is a medical condition in which patches of skin lose their color. This occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for making skin pigment, are destroyed. Vitiligo can affect any part of the body, and it can occur in people of any age, ethnicity, or sex.

Contrary to popular belief, vitiligo is not a cosmetic disorder but a systemic disease affecting the largest body organ and other vital systems. Vitiligo is a life-long condition.

The good news is that vitiligo – upsetting as it can be to those living with it – is neither life threatening nor contagious.

Affecting approximately 1% of the population, vitiligo can be an emotionally and socially devastating disease. Particularly frustrating to many is its unpredictable progression, which can be slow or rapid. The choice of therapy is often characterized by trial and error.  Simply put, patients can do one of three things with vitiligo: try to restore pigmentation, camouflage the white patches, or destroy the remaining color to have all-white skin.

Thus far, there is no cure for vitiligo. But new hope is on the horizon, thanks to recent research that is improving our understanding of the pathways involved in this condition and potential new ways to treat it.

At IC Research, we believe participation in clinical research studies is one of the best ways for doctors to identify new treatments for Vitiligo and we are grateful to all of those who have participated in our research studies.

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