White patches on skin – What are they?

White patches on skin, also known as vitiligo is a skin disorder wherein the skin losses its usual pigmentation/ color. Though medically it is not a very serious disease, the social stigma which is attached to it, makes vitiligo a matter of grave concern. This is especially so in case of brown and dark colored people. Not only does it effect their appearance, but also brings down the confidence level of the individual.

So what exactly are the causes of white patches on skin? Vitiligo is usually caused by one of the following two processes:

  • Destruction of the melanin due to which skin loses its color resulting in white patches vitiligo.
  • Defect in the formation of melanin, due to which no color is formed on the skin.
    Along with these two causes, it has been seen that genetic factor too plays a very critical role in the emergence of vitiligo.