The doctor usually begins by asking the person about his or her medical history. Important factors are a family history of vitiligo; a rash, sunburn, or other skin trauma at the site of vitiligo 2 to 3 months before depigmentation started; stress or physical illness.

The doctor will need to know if the patient or anyone in the patient’s family has any autoimmune diseases and whether the patient is very sensitive to the sun.

The doctor may take a small sample (biopsy) of the affected skin.

He or she may also take a blood sample.

Typical lab work for vitiligo includes all or part of the following tests:

  • ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) This test helps determine if the patient has other autoimmune diseases.
  • Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) -Thyroid antibody testing is primarily ordered to help diagnose an autoimmune thyroid disease and to separate it from other forms of thyroiditis.
  • CBC with differential,
  • comprehensive metabolic panel,
  • thyroid panel including Free T3, Free T4 and TSH
  • lupus panel
  • 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D
  • folate/B12

The doctor may also use a Woods light to confirm vitiligo as vitiligo will glow under this light.


While there is no cure for vitiligo at this time, there are treatments that work moderately well for many individuals. Vitiligo is a progressive disease and though some people will experience a stable (non- spreading) period for months or years, there is always the underlying possibility of it again becoming active and spreading. Regardless of how well the treatments work, or how much of your pigment is regained, until a cure is found, you still have vitiligo. Learn to recognize new pigment loss and be prepared to treat it, but otherwise live and enjoy life.

Symptoms of Vitiligo

The most obvious sign or symptom of vitiligo is loss of pigment on the skin, resulting in milky-white, irregularly-shaped patches on the skin

Typically occurs first on sun-exposed areas (face, hands, feet, arms, legs).

Less common signs include pigment loss or graying of hair on scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes or other affected areas.

May also experience loss of pigment on the tissues that line the inside of the mouth (mucous membranes) and the retina of the eye.

Some of those affected by vitiligo experience intense itching at the site of depigmentation during active stages.