Philadelphia and Mainline Center of Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

Why the skin lose the pigment but black hair continues to grow in the affected area?

[2012-05-27 11:59:53 - BD from Bryn Mawr]: Here is another question that I have on Vitiligo: If white patches are evident on a vitiligo patients skin but the hair that grows in that same region are still dark and obviously still has pigment in the follicle core, then how can you get the pigment from those hair follicles to reproduce new pigment in that skin region? It seems odd that if the melanin is destroyed in the skin, then why wouldn't the melanin in the follicles also be destroyed?
[2012-06-04 08:06:20 - Franziska Ringpfeil MD.]: It is possible that in the early stages of vitiligo, the immense density of melanin in the hair follicle is incompletely destroyed by the immune response of our body. In fact, the residual and much more dense melanin in hair follicles is believed to be the source for repigmentation as repigmentation occurs first around the opening of hair follicles. When vitiligo is longer standing, even the pigment in the hair follicles gets destroyed, which is most noticeable in scalp, beard or other terminal hair.

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