Vitiligo attacks indiscriminately both the male and female population of this planet, independent of the phototype of the skin or the race, and can first appear at any age. It is proven to be common in people affected by other autoimmune diseases such as thyroid malfunction, diabetes, alopecia areata, megaloblastic anemia, etc.
Vitiligo, which is not clarified whether it is a disease or a syndrome, falls under the category of autoimmune diseases that would be best to characterize as heteroimmune, since the organism, that is the immune system, reacts against its own organs and tissues, because it doesn’t recognize some antibodies as its own, although they are produced by these organs. Thus, because of the lack of functioning melanocytes, depigmentation of the skin is caused as a consequence of the disruption of the conveyance of melanin to the keratinocytes which surround it.
Incidence ranges from .1% to 2% in most populations, with the exception of areas like India and South America with existing genetic and environmental impact (e.g. humidity, temperature and sunshine), where the numbers reach 8.8 % of the population. We observe that 20-38% of the patients have first and second degree relatives who also suffer from vitiligo. The genetic data indicate a multi-factorial, gene-related inheritance which doesn’t follow Mendel’s laws and which is the result of an anomaly that alters the composition of melanin or changes the biology of the melanosome (transfer -biogenesis-melanization).
However, the exact causes of vitiligo are still undetermined.