Medical Screening

Proper diagnosis is needed to distinguish whether or not you have vitiligo. See your doctor if areas of your skin, hair or eyes lose coloring. Although there's no cure for vitiligo, treatments exist that may help to stop or slow the process of depigmentation and attempt to return some color to your skin.

If your doctor suspects you have vitiligo, he or she will ask about your medical history. Important factors in your medical history include:

  • A family history of vitiligo
  • A rash, sunburn or other skin trauma at the site of vitiligo within two to three months of the start of depigmentation
  • Premature graying of the hair (before age 35)
  • Stress or physical illness

In addition, your doctor will need to know whether you or anyone in your family has had an autoimmune disease. He or she will ask if your skin is sensitive to the sun. Your doctor will examine you to rule out other medical problems or skin conditions, such as dermatitis or psoriasis. Your doctor may take a small sample (biopsy) of your affected skin. He or she may take a blood sample to check your blood cell count and thyroid function. In some cases, your doctor may recommend an eye examination to check for inflammation in your eye (uveitis). A blood test to look for the presence of antinuclear antibodies (a type of autoantibody) also may be done to determine if you have an autoimmune disease.