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What role does sun exposure play in vitiligo?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
One of the factors known to trigger the white patches of vitiligo is sunburn. The pigmentation changes that mark the disease typically, but not always, develops on the skin that is most exposed to the sun, such as the hands, face, and arms. Vitiligo becomes noticeable only after the skin has been exposed to the sun for a time early in childhood, not during infancy. It is not clear what the mechanism is, but the sun may affect highly reactive chemicals (called reactive oxygen species or ROS) in the skin that may play a role in triggering the disease in genetically susceptible people.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.