Vitiligo disease is one of the most discussed complications due to the interchanging appearance of people suffering through it.
The skin pigmentation or skin coloring is determined by the amount of melanin produced by the melanocytes.
The white patches are the hallmark of Vitiligo which can occur on any part of skin due to loss of skin pigmentation.
Melanocytes are the special skin cells that produce the skin pigment medically known as melanin.
These pigments are ubiquitous i.e., they are found in most of the part of the body.
The melanins in every part of body perform a different function and are termed similarly, for example, melanin present in the brain is known as neuron melanin. Likewise there is two melanin present in skin Eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Both the melanin works for pigmentation of the skin. However, their function is different from the each other.
The skin melanins are produced in melanocytes which are commonly known as pigmentary cells or pigment-producing cells.
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The melanocytes produce melanin with the help of Tyrosinase acquired from amino acid tyrosine.
The melanocytes after synthesizing, distribute the melanin to skin cell through melanosomes.
The amount of melanin produced determines the skin color. Usually, the skin provides a specific amount of both the melanin.
Many treatments for Vitiligo work for re-producing melanin by healing the melanocytes. But since the real reason for why the melanocytes are impaired is not yet known therefore there is no cure attained yet.
Eumelanin is a black or brown pigment which warrants the melanin to be termed as photoprotectant.
It enables the melanin to provide protection to skin against radiation of the sun. The determinant function of eumelanin is to absorb the UV radiations.
The greater the number of eumelanin present, the darker would be the skin tone.
Pheomelanin is the reddish pigment that acts as photo-sensitizer making the skin sensitive to light.
It is a weak absorber of UV radiations, and it increases the sun sensitivity and skin aging factor.
It is believed that the white patches of Vitiligo occur when the melanocytes are unable to produce the required amount of melanin due to dysfunction of melanocytes.
However the real reason for the mealoncytes malfunctioning is still not known.
Many advance types of research are being conducted to find the real cause for the impaired function of melanocytes so that cure can be achieved.