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.
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.
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, 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.
An uncommon form of vitiligo, acrofacial vitiligo – which is also referred to as lip tip vitiligo – occurs only on the lips, fingers and toes.
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?
Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. 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.