White patches on skin - Definition

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Vitiligo is a skin disease characterized by the appearance of white, or unpigmented, areas of skin that spread over time. The disease is common in young adults and is cause by the disappearance of melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation. In advance stages, the nails and hair can also be affected. The underlying causes are not yet well understood, and the lesions are particularly localized on the face, chest, hands and feet. Vitiligo progression cannot be stopped, but when there is severe esthetic damage caused, certain techniques of recoloring the skin are possible.