Typically, symptoms of vitiligo are characterized as white patches on the skin usually found in areas where sun exposure is most common. In addition to white patches on the skin, symptoms may also include premature graying of the scalp hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard. There is no way to tell if vitiligo will spread, but in most cases, the white patches will spread over time to other areas of the body.
White patches on the skin are the most common vitiligo symptom. These patches are typically in areas where the skin is exposed to the sun. The patches may be on the:
Other common areas for white patches include:
- The armpits and groin
- Around the mouth
In addition to white patches on the skin, vitiligo symptoms can include premature graying of the scalp hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard. People with dark skin may notice a loss of color inside their mouths.
Vitiligo symptoms generally appear in one of three patterns. In one pattern (focal pattern), the depigmentation is limited to one or only a few areas. Some people develop depigmented patches on only one side of their bodies (segmental pattern). For most people living with vitiligo, however, depigmentation occurs on different parts of the body (generalized pattern).
There is no way to tell if vitiligo will spread. For some people, the white patches do not spread. However, in most cases, vitiligo will spread over time to other areas of the body. In some cases, vitiligo spreads slowly, over many years. For other people, the spreading occurs quickly. Some people have reported more white patches after physical or emotional stress.