Is Vitiligo Genetic or Hereditary?
About 20% of people who have Vitiligo know that someone else in their family has or had it.
There is no one single identified source of vitiligo, except for autoimmunity. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder wherein the systems in the body fight off the healthy cells (melanocytes) that control the coloring of skin, hair, and mucous. Generally, vitiligo makes its debut right after a triggering event, like a bruise to the skin. It’s the traumatic response to the triggering event that causes vitiligo as the immune system wrongly kills the pigment cells.
Vitiligo also in general also occur with certain other autoimmune diseases, such as hyper- or hypo-thyroidism (an over- or under-active thyroid gland), rheumatoid arthritis, adrenocortical insufficiency (underproduction of corticosteroid hormone by the adrenal gland), type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and pernicious anemia (subnormal red blood cell level caused by inability to absorb vitamin B12). All of these suggest that different autoimmune diseases probably share a genetic or environmental causal factor, although these mostly remain unknown.
The answer to the question, IS VITILIGO GENETIC OR HEREDITARY can be explored further…
There’s a small twist linking to Vitiligo, and it being derived as an autoimmune disease. Those who have an existing autoimmune disease are at a higher risk of developing vitiligo. It is especially stronger for people with Hashimoto’s disease or alopecia areata. By the same token, people who have vitiligo are more likely to have another autoimmune disease. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, autoimmune thyroid disease, or type 1 diabetes are common in most individuals.
Is It Always Hereditary? Or Genetic?
Vitiligo can technically occur at any age. Usually, though, it occurs in young people, generally in the cases before the age of 21 and it affects all races and genders equally. There’s also a strong genetic link; but having the genetic makeup for vitiligo doesn’t guarantee you’ll develop it. Usually, something in the environment sets off the condition, such as exposure to ultraviolet rays or chemicals. Stress on a cellular level can also set off this “attack”. That stress could be anything from a cut or scratch to a significant illness or stressful life event.
As learnt earlier, the genetic makeup and environmental triggers could set off an autoimmune response within the body, making it susceptible for one to other family members getting it. If they have it, chances are that you’ll develop it too. However, not everyone with vitiligo can point to a relative with it, but about 20-30% of vitiligo patients can. Where the vitiligo occurs on the body and how it progresses, doesn’t seem to be passed on from one family member to the next. Triggering events for eg; if someone gets intense sunburn, they can develop vitiligo in the areas where the sunburn occurred if they already have vitiligo.
How Can Skin City Improve the Loss of Pigmentation?
The first step towards improving the appearance of vitiligo is scheduling an evaluation with one of our skin specialists at Skin City to determine the extent of your depigmentation as well as your desired outcomes. There is several advanced techniques available right from lasers to steroids to improve this skin condition and usually, a combination approach is needed to get long-term improvement.
If you’re experiencing white patches and believe you have vitiligo, contact us at one of our convenient Skin City clinics to schedule a consultation and a customized treatment plan. Vitiligo is a complex skin condition but with the use of our most advanced treatment options, even-toned skin is just a consultation away.