Vitiligo & Psoriasis – What’s the Difference?

Vitiligo & Psoriasis – What’s the Difference?
December 22, 2016 zanderm

Although Psoriasis and Vitiligo are both conditions that cause alterations to the skin, there are many differences in the causes and treatments for each.

Psoriasis affects approximately three percent of the world’s population and can be caused by a combination of genetic factors and external triggers, such as stress or injury to the skin.

Vitiligo affects about one percent of the world’s population and approximately 1.5 million people in the United States. There is no definitive cause of Vitiligo although many experts believe it is an autoimmune disorder.


Psoriasis is caused by the quick growth of skin cells. Under normal conditions, skin cells grow and fall off but when a person has Psoriasis, the skin cells grow very rapidly but don’t fall off, causing them to build up in places on the body.

Vitiligo is a discoloration of the skin that can happen in small patches or can cover large portions of a person’s body.


Psoriasis is a topical condition and can show itself anywhere on the body, although it is most common on the outside of the elbows, knees and on the scalp. copy-of-day-1-hands-7-of-7

A person with this condition may experience a burning or itching sensation in the affected areas as well as dry cracked skin that may bleed. Psoriasis generally covers the body in patches that may look red and flaky, and can even affect the toenails or fingernails causing them to be ridged or pitted.

Unlike Psoriasis, skin affected by Vitiligo is unlikely to change texture, although some itching is possible. The affected skin cells will lose their pigment, causing them to turn white.

Although the depigmentation is more obvious in exposed areas, the most commonly affected areas of the skin are the face, hands and underarms.

Vitiligo occurs in three general patterns: 1) Focal: limited to one area, 2) Segmental: on one side of the body, or 3) Generalized: on different areas throughout the body.


Although there is no true cure for Psoriasis or Vitiligo, there are many available treatments to help decrease and soothe symptoms.

Many Psoriasis patients turn to prescription drug treatments which work from inside your body, although these are generally reserved with those who have moderate to severe Psoriasis or Psoriatic Arthritis.

Phototherapy is also a common treatment, in which the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light in an attempt to slow the skin cell growth. There are also topical treatments available.

All forms of Vitiligo treatment are done on the outside of the body as there is no prescription drug to help with treatment. A possible solution is the restoration of skin color through topical corticosteroid creams, however, this is more likely to be successful for smaller patches on the skin. zanderm_emailtemplate_20

It is also possible to bleach the skin to match the depigmented sections using a topical cream but many patients affected by Vitiligo use concealers and cover-ups, like Zanderm, to hide the white patches.

*Please note that Zanderm does not provide medical advice. Please seek consultation with a medical doctor for additional information related to Vitiligo.

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