Do I have Vitiligo? (not seeking medical advice)

So it looks like vitiligo on my arms and hands; suntanned areas have developed completely white patches in the last few months. BUT, on other parts of my body, including areas that have not seen the sun since I could wear a bikini (and that was a very long time ago, like 25-30 years) are deveolping brown patches. My face, which has seen it’s fair share of sun, is it’s normal color over about 70% and now has darker brown areas showing up here and there.

Overall, it’s not like I’m losing melanin, it is more like my melanin has decided to go on walkabout over different places on my bod. No change in hair color that I can tell, but my body hair is almost transparent in these areas normally.

For sake of clarity, I’m a white chick, 50, perimenopausal. None of the other women in my family have this (older sister, mother, aunt, grandmothers).

So, does this sound like vitiligo or some other hormonal surprise I didn’t know what waiting to pounce?

Before anyone asks, my annual medical is coming up in a few weeks so I’ll hear what the doc says then. I’m just curious because vitiligo is what comes up when searching on Google but it doesn’t sound quite right. Probably using bad search words.
ETA - doesn’t look quite like melasma either, more like someone mashed the symptoms of both melasma and vitiligo together in one convenient package.

Can’t tell you what you have (but you knew that already) but yes, one can have vitiligo and melasma at the same time. They even conveniently call it “vitiligo-melasma”.

Here’s one study that studied a particular treatment on patients with vitiligo-melasma and compared it to vitiligo alone. Vitiligo-melasma on the face and limbs responded better in this case, but vitiligo on the trunk responded better; something to keep in mind when you see a dermatologist. Vitiligo-melasma should not, perhaps, be treated just like vitiligo, so try to find a doctor experienced in treating what you have, not something close to it.

Thanks WhyNot! Looks like a hole in one, but I’ll of course see my medical professional about this. It doesn’t really bother me - I’m finding it pretty interesting as I have fairly bland looks, so it gives me a distinction I otherwise lack. Near as I can tell it doesn’t bother my husband at all as long as it is only cosmetic, so maybe I won’t even bother to treat it.

Vitiligo sounds like what the Docs told me I have. Becarefull of the sun. Every year I volunteer at a event where I am working outside for about 10 days in the summer. My hands have no color at all, but still have tan with spots on my arms. At the start my arms would get darker and my hands would turn brite red, but did not hurt. About 5 years ago on the 6th day my hands hurt and were very red. I tried to put gloves on but it hurt to much. So I stopped by the med tent to see if they had some treatment for sunburn. The nurse looked at my hands and informed me it was not a normal sunburn. The back of my hands had a 2nd degree burn. On closer inspection she showed me the they were covered with small blisters. Now if I am going to be out in the sun for a half day or more I wear gloves on my hands.

Beware that the prevailing wisdom of those with vitiligo is to hit it hard with lasers and light therapy, both of which are effective but are very time consuming (as well as not cheap, even with excellent health insurance, due to frequent copays).

Remember that it is up to you to decide what course of action you wish to take. Do ask about least invasive and topical treatments such as steriods etc (I like Dovonex) and do ask specifically about cheaper alternatives and generics.

When I first developed vitiligo in elementary school it spread like wildfire and I underwent light therapy for over a year. It was mentally and physically exhausting. I do not recommend any course of action that requires frequent doctor /treatment visits unless yours is spreading substantially.

Mine was stationary for over 10 years since I stopped light treatments. It has actually been receding ever since I graduated from college 3 years ago (undergrad was very stressful for me).

But when my dermo moved away 2 years ago, I went to a new one. He’s a PA and he’s awesome, very informed and intelligent and never rushes (he has 25% fewer appts per day, so he’s scheduled for 20 min appointments which I love) but he strongly encouraged me to do the newest laser treatments.

I briefly considered it but then added in the time, gas, and co-payments (this dermo was walking distance but the other office I had to go to was driving) and decided it wasn’t worth it.

So just be aware there are lots of options, many of which you can continue in your own home and are very affordable! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the great advise. I have upped the rating of my sunblock over the last year as this took off. I may look at getting the melasma on my face reduced a bit if it can be done safely (guess I’d better schedule now for my dermatologist - he has a huge waiting list). Probably I will ignore the vertiligo. No one has ever hired me for my looks so I’m not worried about the appearence.

There’s a skin fungus called Tinea Versicolor that leaves white spots and patches. It’s treated with anti dandruff shampoos or prescription shampoos.

Is that the same one that can go the other direction, i.e., make dark spots? Because I’ve had that, and while the discoloration fades, it never completely goes away. Luckily, when I care, I can just tan briefly to make my skin match.