Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

The Epidemiology of Vitiligo

  • Epidemiology (JI Silverberg, Section Editor)
  • Published:
Current Dermatology Reports Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Vitiligo is a common condition seen in a dermatology office, which has a variety of comorbidities. Worldwide, the prevalence of vitiligo ranges from 0.4 to 2.0 %, with regions of greater or lesser prevalence. Most studies demonstrate slightly greater prevalence in females and 50 % onset in childhood, but exceptions to these rules exist. Childhood vitiligo has been associated with atopic diathesis, halo nevi, and family history of vitiligo and autoimmunity. Post-pubescent vitiligo has been associated with greater acrofacial disease and thyroid disease, and early data supports reduced non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer risk. Disease severity is inversely proportional to distance from the equator, and birthplace outside the USA may be somewhat protective against severe disease. This article reviews the epidemiology of vitiligo and the epidemiologic relationship of vitiligo to comorbid diseases and family history, with a focus on recent literature.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Silverberg NB. Recent advances in childhood vitiligo. Clin Dermatol. 2014;32:524–30.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Ezzedine K. Latent class analysis of a series of 717 patients with vitiligo allows the identification of two clinical subtypes. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014;27:134–9.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Agarwal S, Gupta S, Ojha A, Sinha R. Childhood vitiligo: clinicoepidemiologic profile of 268 children from the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. India Pediatr Dermatol. 2013;30:348–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Kyriakis KP, Palamaras I, Tsele E, Michailides C, Terzoudi S. Case detection rates of vitiligo by gender and age. Int J Dermatol. 2009;48:328–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Howitz J, Brodthagen H, Schwartz M, et al. Prevalence of vitiligo. Epidemiological survey on the Isle of Bornholm, Denmark. Arch Dermatol. 1977;113:47–52.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Vora RV, Patel BB, Chaudhary AH, Mehta MJ, Pilani AP. A clinical study of vitiligo in a rural set up of Gujarat. Ind J Comm Med. 2014;39:143–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Nejad SB, Qadim HH, Nazeman L, Fadaii R, Goldust M. Frequency of autoimmune diseases in those suffering from vitiligo in comparison with normal population. Pak J Biol Sci. 2013;16:570–4.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Nunes DH, Esser LM. Vitiligo epidemiological profile and the association with thyroid disease. An Bras Dermatol. 2011;86:241–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Alissa A, Al Eisa A, Huma R, Mulekar S. Vitiligo—epidemiological study of 4134 patients at the National Center for Vitiligo and Psoriasis in Central Saudi Arabia. Saudi Med J. 2011;32:1291–6.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Agarwal S, Gupta S, Ojha A, Sinha R. Childhood vitiligo: clinicoepidemiologic profile of 268 children from the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. India Pediatr Dermatol. 2013;30:348–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Radtke MA, Schäfer I, Gajur AI, Augustin M. Clinical features and treatment outcomes of vitiligo from the patients’ perspective: results of a national survey in Germany. Dermatology. 2010;220:194–200.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Ayanlowo O, Olumide YM, Akinkugbe A, Ahamneze N, Otike-Odibi BI, Ekpudu VI, et al. Characteristics of vitiligo in Lagos. Nigeria West Afr J Med. 2009;28:118–21.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Romero FR, Romero AW, Almeida RM, Oliveira Jr FC, Filho Jr RT. Prevalence and risk factors for penile lesions/anomalies in a cohort of Brazilian men ≥40 years of age. Int Braz J Urol. 2013;39:55–62.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Garsaud P, Calès-Quist D, Hélénon R, Quénéhervé C, Claire R. Epidemiology of vitiligo in the French West Indies (Isle of Martinique). Int J Dermatol. 2000;39:18–20.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Krüger C, Schallreuter KU. A review of the worldwide prevalence of vitiligo in children/adolescents and adults. Int J Dermatol. 2012;51:1206–12.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Jacobsen DL, Gange SJ, Rose NR, Graham NMH. Epidemiology and estimated population burden of selected autoimmune disease in the United States. Clin Immmunol Immunopath. 1997;84:223–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Taylor A, Pawaskar M, Taylor SL, Balkrishnan R, Feldman SR. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2008;7:14168.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Alkhateeb A, Fain PR, Thody A, Bennett DC, Spritz RA. Epidemiology of vitiligo and associated autoimmune diseases in Caucasian probands and their families. Pigment Cell Res. 2003;16:208–14.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Paradisi A, Tabolli S, Didona B, Sobrino L, Russo N, Abeni D. Markedly reduced incidence of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer in a nonconcurrent cohort of 10,040 patients with vitiligo. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71:1110–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Shrestha R, Shrestha D, Dhakal AK, Shakya A, Shah SC, Shakya H. Spectrum of pediatric dermatoses in tertiary care center in Nepal. Nepal Med Coll J. 2012;14:146–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Chen GY, Cheng YW, Wang CY, Hsu TJ, Hsu MM, Yang PT, et al. Prevalence of skin diseases among schoolchildren in Magong, Penghu, Taiwan: a community-based clinical survey. J Formos Med Assoc. 2008;107:21–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Yamamah GA, Emam HM, Abdelhamid MF, Elsaie ML, Shehata H, Farid T, et al. Epidemiologic study of dermatologic disorders among children in South Sinai. Egypt Int J Dermatol. 2012;51:1180–5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Lerner B. Vitiligo. J Investig Dermatol. 1959;32:295–310.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Hexsel CL, Eide MJ, Johnson CC, Krajenta R, Jacobsen G, Hamzavi I, et al. Incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in a cohort of patients with vitiligo. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009;60:929–33.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Pajvani U, Ahmad N, Wiley A, Levy RM, Kundu R, Mancini AJ, et al. The relationship between family medical history and childhood vitiligo. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;55:238–44.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Sheth VM, Guo Y, Qureshi AA. Comorbidities associated with vitiligo: a ten-year retrospective study. Dermatology. 2013;227:311–5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Kar PK. Vitiligo: a study of 120 cases. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2001;67:302–4.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Jaigirdar MQ, Alam SM, Maidul AZ. Clinical presentation of vitiligo. Mymensingh Med J. 2002;11:79–81.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Cho S, Kang HC, Hahm JH. Characteristics of vitiligo in Korean children. Pediatr Dermatol. 2000;17:189–93.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Sun X, Xu A, Wei X, Ouyang J, Lu L, Chen M, et al. Genetic epidemiology of vitiligo: a study of 815 probands and their families from south China. Int J Dermatol. 2006;45:1176–81.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Poojary SA. Vitiligo and associated autoimmune disorders: a retrospective hospital-based study in Mumbai. India Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2011;39:356–61.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. Alzolibani A. Genetic epidemiology and heritability of vitiligo in the Qassim region of Saudi Arabia. Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Pannonica Adriat. 2009;18:119.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Marinho Fde S, Cirino PV, Fernandes NC. Clinical epidemiological profile of vitiligo in children and adolescents. An Bras Dermatol. 2013;88:1026–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Nunes DH, Esser LM. Vitiligo epidemiological profile and the association with thyroid disease. An Bras Dermatol. 2011;86:241–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Habib A, Raza N. Clinical pattern of vitiligo. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2012;22:61–2.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Shankar DS, Shashikala K, Madala R. Clinical patterns of vitiligo and its associated co morbidities: a prospective controlled cross-sectional study in South India. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2012;3:114–8.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Al-Refu K. Vitiligo in children: a clinical-epidemiologic study in Jordan. Pediatr Dermatol. 2012;29:114–5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Nicolaidou E, Antoniou C, Miniati A, Lagogianni E, Matekovits A, Stratigos A, et al. Childhood- and later-onset vitiligo have diverse epidemiologic and clinical characteristics. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012;66:954–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Halder RM, Grimes PE, Cowan CA, Enterline JA, Chakrabarti SG, Kenney Jr JA. Childhood vitiligo. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1987;16(5 Pt 1):948–54.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Mazereeuw-Hautier J, Bezio S, Mahe E, Bodemer C, Eschard C, Viseux V, et al. Segmental and nonsegmental childhood vitiligo has distinct clinical characteristics: a prospective observational study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010;62:945–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Silverberg N. Segmental vitiligo may not be associated with risk of autoimmune thyroiditis. Skinmed. 2011;9:329–30.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Pagovich OE, Silverberg JI, Freilich E, Silverberg NB. Thyroid abnormalities in pediatric patients with vitiligo in New York City. Cutis. 2008;81:463–6.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Ezzedine K, Diallo A, Léauté-Labrèze C, Séneschal J, Prey S, Ballanger F, et al. Halo naevi and leukotrichia are strong predictors of the passage to mixed vitiligo in a subgroup of segmental vitiligo. Br J Dermatol. 2012;166:539–44.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Narita T, Oiso N, Fukai K, Kabashima K, Kawada A, Suzuki T. Generalized vitiligo and associated autoimmune diseases in Japanese patients and their families. Allergol Int. 2011;60:505–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Gönül M, Cakmak SK, Oğuz D, Gül U, Kiliç S. Profile of vitiligo patients attending a training and research hospital in Central Anatolia: a retrospective study. J Dermatol. 2012;39:156–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Poojary SA. Vitiligo and associated autoimmune disorders: a retrospective hospital-based study in Mumbai. India Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2011;39:356–61.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  47. Akay BN, Bozkir M, Anadolu Y, Gullu S. Epidemiology of vitiligo, associated autoimmune diseases and audiological abnormalities: Ankara study of 80 patients in Turkey. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24:1144–50.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Iacovelli P, Sinagra JL, Vidolin AP, Marenda S, Capitanio B, Leone G, et al. Relevance of thyroiditis and of other autoimmune diseases in children with vitiligo. Dermatology. 2005;210:26–30.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Prćić S, Djuran V, Katanić D, Vlaški J, Gajinov Z. Vitiligo and thyroid dysfunction in children and adolescents. Acta Dermatovenerol Croat. 2011;19:248–54.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  50. Vrijman C, Kroon MW, Limpens J, Leeflang MM, Luiten RM, van der Veen JP, et al. The prevalence of thyroid disease in patients with vitiligo: a systematic review. Br J Dermatol. 2012;167:1224–35.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  51. Uncu S, Yaylı S, Bahadır S, Okten A, Alpay K. Relevance of autoimmune thyroiditis in children and adolescents with vitiligo. Int J Dermatol. 2011;50:175–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  52. Fleissig E, Gross M, Ophir I, Elidan J, Bdolah-Abram T, Ingber A. Risk of sensorineural hearing loss in patients with vitiligo. Audiol Neurootol. 2013;18:240–6.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  53. Mahdi P, Rouzbahani M, Amali A, Rezaii Khiabanlu S, Kamali M. Audiological manifestations in vitiligo patients. Iran J Otorhinolaryngol. 2012;24:35–40.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  54. Kalkanli N, Kalkanli S. Classification and comparative study of vitiligo in southeast of Turkey with biochemical and immunological parameters. Clin Ter. 2013;164:397–402.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. Afkhami-Ardekani M, Ghadiri-Anari A, Ebrahimzadeh-Ardakani M, Zaji N. Prevalence of vitiligo among type 2 diabetic patients in an Iranian population. Int J Dermatol. 2014;53:956–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  56. Boelaert K, Newby PR, Simmonds MJ, Holder RL, Carr-Smith JD, Heward JM, et al. Prevalence and relative risk of other autoimmune diseases in subjects with autoimmune thyroid disease. Am J Med. 2010;123:183. e1-9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  57. Prindaville B, Rivkees SA. Incidence of vitiligo in children with Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Int J Pediatr Endocrinol. 2011;2011:18.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  58. Michou L, Rat AC, Lasbleiz S, Bardin T, Cornélis F. Prevalence and distribution of autoimmune diseases in 368 rheumatoid arthritis families. J Rheumatol. 2008;35:790–6.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  59. Alenizi DA. Consanguinity pattern and heritability of vitiligo in Arar, Saudi Arabia. J Fam Comm Med. 2014;21:13–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Wang Y, Chan C-C. Gender differences in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease and sympathetic ophthalmia. J Ophthalmol. 2014.

  61. Kanwar AJ, Mahajan R, Parsad D. Effect of age at onset on disease characteristics in vitiligo. J Cutan Med Surg. 2013;17:253–8.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  62. Silverberg JI, Silverberg NB. Association between vitiligo and atopic disorders: a pilot study. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149:983–86.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  63. Mohan GC, Silverberg JI. Association of vitiligo and alopecia areata with atopic dermatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatol. 2014. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.3324.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  64. Rodríguez-Martín M, de Paz NM, Mehtani P, Ferrer PC, Eliche MP, Martín BR, et al. Patients with vitiligo present fewer cardiovascular risk factors: results from a case-control study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013;27:124–5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  65. Schaefer I, Augustin M, Spehr C, Reusch M, Kornek T. Prevalence and risk factors of actinic keratoses in Germany—analysis of multisource data. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014;28:309–13.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. Teulings HE, Overkamp M, Ceylan E, et al. Decreased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in patients with vitiligo: a survey among 1307 patients and their partners. Br J Dermatol. 2013;168:162–71.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  67. Silverberg JI, Silverberg NB. Quality of life impairment in children and adolescents with vitiligo. Pediatr Dermatol. 2014;31:309–18.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  68. Silverberg JI, Silverberg NB. Association between vitiligo extent and distribution and quality-of-life impairment. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149:159–64.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  69. Dolatshahi M, Ghazi P, Feizy V, Hemami MR. Life quality assessment among patients with vitiligo: comparison of married and single patients in Iran. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2008;74:700.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  70. Bin Saif GA, Al-Balbeesi AO, Binshabaib R, Alsaad D, Kwatra SG, Alzolibani AA, et al. Quality of life in family members of vitiligo patients: a questionnaire study in Saudi Arabia. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2013;14:489–95.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  71. Tejada Cdos S, Mendoza-Sassi RA, Almeida Jr HL, Figueiredo PN, Tejada VF. Impact on the quality of life of dermatological patients in southern Brazil. An Bras Dermatol. 2011;86:1113–21.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  72. Arýcan O, Koç K, Ersoy L. Clinical characteristics in 113 Turkish vitiligo patients. Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Pannonica Adriat. 2008;17:129–32.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  73. Silverberg JI, Silverberg NB. Association between vitiligo and atopic disorders: a pilot study. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149:983–86.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  74. Ezzedine K, Diallo A, Léauté-Labrèze C, Séneschal J, Prey S, Ballanger F, et al. Pre- vs. post-pubertal onset of vitiligo: multivariate analysis indicates atopic diathesis association in pre-pubertal onset vitiligo. Br J Dermatol. 2012;167:490–5.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  75. Silverberg JI, Reja M, Silverberg NB. Regional variation of and association of US birthplace with vitiligo extent. JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150:1298–305.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  76. Silverberg JI, Silverberg AI, Malka E, Silverberg NB. A pilot study assessing the role of 25 hydroxy vitamin D levels in patients with vitiligo vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010;62:937–41.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  77. Silverberg JI, Silverberg NB. Clinical features of vitiligo associated with comorbid autoimmune disease: a prospective survey. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013;69:824–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  78. Silverberg JI, Silverberg AI, Malka E, Silverberg NB. A pilot study assessing the role of 25 hydroxy vitamin D levels in patients with vitiligo vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010;62:937–41.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

NB Silverberg declares no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nanette B. Silverberg.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Epidemiology

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Silverberg, N.B. The Epidemiology of Vitiligo. Curr Derm Rep 4, 36–43 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13671-014-0098-6

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13671-014-0098-6

Keywords

Navigation