Is leukoderma or vitiligo curable

Difference Between Vitiligo and Leucoderma

Key difference - Vitiligo vs Leucoderma

Vitiligo and Leucoderma are two common skin conditions that are characterized by extensive white patches on the skin. It is often difficult to tell the difference between Vitiligo and Leucoderma because they share many similar symptoms. However the Main difference between vitiligo and leukoderma arises from their cause; Vitiligo is mainly caused by autoimmune diseases, hormonal changes, acute emotional trauma, recurrent jaundice or typhoid disease, prolonged antibiotic treatments, or corticosteroid treatments whereas Leukoderma will occur strictly after physical trauma.

This article contains the following information:

1. What is Vitiligo? - Clinical features, causes, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up

2. What is leukoderma? - Clinical features, causes, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care

3. What is the difference between Vitiligo and Leucoderma?

What is Vitiligo?

This is a long-term skin condition characterized by pale, white spots that develop on the skin due to a lack of skin pigmentation (melanin). Vitiligo can affect any part of our skin, but it usually affects the area that is heavily exposed to the sun, including the face, neck, and hands.

While the exact etiology of this condition is not clearly known, it is believed that certain autoimmune diseases and underlying health problems related to the nerve endings, sudden emotional trauma, and stress increase the risk. Other causes of vitiligo can include regular consumption of vegetables and fruits that have been treated with insecticides / pesticides, recurring episodes of jaundice or typhoid, heavy antibiotic treatment, corticosteroid treatment, and poor personal hygiene.

In 50% of those affected, the original skin changes appear before the age of 20, but not usually. Both men and women are affected equally, and there is no known ethnicity dominance.

This condition can usually be accurately diagnosed by analyzing a complete medical history of the patient and thoroughly examining the affected areas of the skin. Most often it does this through the use of an ultraviolet lamp shining on the skin for better vision and excluding other skin conditions. Other tests are also done to rule out conditions such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

White spots on the skin caused by vitiligo do not have a permanent cure, but certain medications can improve their appearance. In fact, relatively small spots can be hidden with skin camouflage creams or cosmetic concealers.

In addition, heavy and stretched patches can be treated with a combination of treatments including phototherapy and medication.

However, since the spread of the disease cannot be stopped completely, it is important to advise those affected to keep exposure to the sun as low as possible to avoid negative effects.

Regarding the complications of Vitiligo, the lack of melanin can lead to sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer caused by chronic exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Some people may also experience pigmentation disorders in the eyes and partial hearing loss known as hypoacusis.

In addition, this can also lead to issues related to confidence and self-esteem. Therefore, it is extremely important to seek social support from such charities and social services in order to change the community's negative attitudes towards Vitiligo.

UV photography of a hand with vitiligo

What is Leucoderma?

Leukoderma is essentially a de-pigmentation of the skin, which is characterized by the localization or possible destruction of melanocytes. The characteristic white spots are tightly bound on the skin compared to Vitiligo. Some people even claim that vitiligo is a form of leukoderma, but there is no scientific evidence to support it.

The most common causes of leukoderma include traumatic incidents such as accidental cuts, burns, and ulcers that would result in scarring leading to the gradual development of a white patch.

Leukoderma is mainly identified by the white spots that were initially localized in smaller areas, but which increase over time. Most of these skin changes begin to show up by ages 10 and 30 and would be more noticeable in people with darker complexions.

The main goal of treatment is to correct metabolism by improving immunity, thereby increasing the ability of possible pigmentation in the affected area.

Difference Between Vitiligo and Leucoderma

Clinical features

In terms of clinical presentation, both Vitiligo and Leucoderma are made up of white spots that can only be differentiated by the cause. In some patients, the raised spots of Leucoderma may be noticeable without the use of a light source, even if they are difficult to tell apart.

root cause

Vitiligo is mainly caused by autoimmune diseases, hormonal changes, acute emotional trauma or stress, recurrent jaundice or typhoid episodes, prolonged antibiotic treatments, or corticosteroid treatments.

Leukoderma will occur strictly after a physical trauma such as a cut, burn, or ulceration. The scar that will then form will eventually turn into a white patch that sometimes enlarges over time.

Diagnosis and treatment

Since these are two clinical diagnoses, a full medical history and physical examination, especially any skin changes, are very important in determining the treatment plan.

Covering creams and phototherapy would help for most patients, but the progression of the creams cannot be stopped due to its lifelong nature.

Image courtesy:

"Leucoderma 1" By George Henry Fox - Fox, George Henry (1886) Photographic Illustrations of Skin Diseases (2nd ed.), E. B. Treat Retrieved September 25, 2010. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

"Vitiligo UV 1" By Chip Bobbert - Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia