5 Types of Vitiligo And What They Mean

Although only 1% of the population lives with vitiligo, the appearance of vitiligo can manifest in different ways. For some, vitiligo will only ever appear in one area of the body. For others, vitiligo might appear on only one side of the body, or all across the body and eventually most of the body. Here’s how the types of vitiligo are classified.

Image Credit: Aryam Ninochka

Generalized Vitiligo

The most common form of vitiligo, generalized vitiligo can also be referred to as non-segmental or vulgaris. Vitiligo patches are typically symmetrical, appearing on both sides of the body. Generalized vitiligo will appear in a few areas and usually progresses to cover more of the body, although the rate of progression varies. Spots will commonly appear on the hands, wrists, elbows, underarms, eyelids, nostrils, lips, ears, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

Segmental Vitiligo 

Also referred to as unilateral vitiligo, segmental vitiligo appears on only one side of the body. Depigmentation can occur on the face, neck, trunk, arms and legs. According to the UT Southwestern Medical Center, this form of vitiligo often appears in children and stabilizes within a few years.

Focal Vitiligo

Focal, or localized, vitiligo appears in just one or two areas of the body. An uncommon form of vitiligo, depigmentation will not have any consistent patterns. However, focal vitiligo can be an early form of generalized vitiligo and may continue to spread.

Acrofacial Vitiligo

An uncommon form of vitiligo, acrofacial vitiligo – which is also referred to as lip tip vitiligo – occurs only on the lips, fingers and toes.

Universal Vitiligo

The rarest form of vitiligo, universal vitiligo occurs when 80 percent or more of the body loses pigment. Some people with vitiligo become 100 percent depigmented.

What type of vitiligo do you have?

Photo by Shawna Simmons

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Erika Page

Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. Her first spots appeared on her spine when she was seven years old and today vitiligo covers her entire body. Based just south of Washington, D.C., Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.


  1. Dorothy Gardner

    Very informative. Thanks, Erica.

  2. Sebsibie

    segemental type of vitiligo

  3. Sandra Clark

    I think it’s safe to say at some point I’ve had all five. My vitiligo started when I was 15. It started on my hands. It proceeded to spread on my entire body in early 20’s. I remember my lips turning all white but not before it spread to my face. Now I’m probably 90 percent I say that because every summer I get little brown freckles in my face and arms. I’m more comfortable in my skin now that 90 percent of my color is gone. It’s been a long journey but with God, my family and friends I survived it.

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