Vitiligo is a skin condition in which the cells that are responsible for creating skin colour (melanocytes) are destroyed and will no longer produce skin pigment (melanin). Melanin is a pigment that determines the colour of our skin, hair and eyes. As a result, when some parts of the skin lose their brightness, this will create discolouration on the skin. This condition can occur anywhere on the body; however, the most common skin areas that are involved are face, lips, hands, arms, legs and genitals. The affected areas and the extent of the skin, which is affected by vitiligo vary from person to person. Usually, one or two out of every 100 people develop this condition. Roughly, half of the people will exhibit symptoms of this disease before the age of 20. More importantly, research has shown that patients that have vitiligo experience limitation in their social relationships, and it lowers their self-esteem. Vitiligo is much more apparent in dark-skinned people than in light-skinned people. Conventional treatments for this disease include topical ointments, immunosuppressive drugs, phototherapy, and lasers.
The high cost of these methods, the lack of a proper response to the patient’s body, the long course of treatment, as well as the possibility of blemishes reoccurrence, led scientists to seek for new therapies to provide treatment for this condition.