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Hands with Vitiligo
Hands with Vitiligo

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that cause the immune system to attack the pigment in the skin resulting in white patches.

Introducing the Work of Aparna Deokar,
VITFriends' Teen Peer Leader

We are thrilled to showcase the remarkable work of Aparna Deokar, creator and director of this piece. Aparna, a high school student living with Vitiligo, is an active member of our Boston Vitiligo Community and serves as a Peer Leader of the Purple Patch Teen Group. We extend our congratulations to Aparna and express our gratitude to her supportive parents. Additionally, we'd like to thank the Global Vitiligo Foundation for funding this project.

Vitiligo is...

Vitiligo is pronounced Vit -te -li -go (like saying...Little - I - Go/Vitiligo) it is a progressive autoimmune condition.

Vitiligo is known medically as a skin disease but many refer to Vitiligo as a skin-disorder or skin condition. Vitiligo has more social than medical significance, especially among darker skinned people. Due to destruction of the melanin (pigment) the normal skin starts loosing pigments from various parts of the body, in varying speed and extent. 

It's been suggested in literature that there is a strong genetic factor in the background of most cases, especially those who have extensive vitiligo or those who have vitiligo affecting the finger-tips, toes, lips or the genitals. The indication of strong genetic factor is observed in the form of family history of one or more of the auto-immune diseases such as vitiligo, diabetes, lupus, hypothyroid, alopecia areata, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or allergies. 

People with Vitiligo can be found all over the world, regardless of skin COLOR. However, most cases are recorded in India and Mexico. Estimated 1% - 2% of the worlds population have vitiligo as per the survey done by the American Academy of Dermatology. Males and females are affected equally, inclusive of children and it may begin at any age.  


For more than a decade, research on how melanocytes play a role in vitiligo has greatly increased. This includes research on autologous melanocyte transplants. At the University of Colorado, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS) supports a large collaborative project involving families with vitiligo in the United States and the United Kingdom. To date, over 2,400 patients are involved. It is hoped that genetic analysis of these families will uncover the location--and possibly the specific gene or genes--conferring susceptibility to the disease. 

Doctors and researchers continue to look for the causes of and new treatments for vitiligo. 2019-2020 Dr. John Harris of UMass Worcester, MA is making a difference.


List of Vitiligo Clinics/Centers:

Information about insurance coverage:

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