What is spontaneous re-pigmentation?
Spontaneous re-pigmentation means vitiligo patches regaining normal skin colour on their own, without any treatment.
What is the likelihood of my vitiligo spots re-pigmenting without treatment?
Multiple studies have reported spontaneous repigmentation to happen in around 1 in 5 of patients (Ramam et al., 2020; Handa & Kaur, 1999), while textbooks report it occurring in no more than a quarter of cases (James et al., 2019). This means that it’s unlikely for vitiligo spots to re-pigment without treatment.
Would this repigmentation be permanent? Would it affect all my spots?
This depends on the individual and is very difficult to predict. In most patients, repigmentation is permanent. Unfortunately, very few cases of spontaneous repigmentation affect all the spots – that is very unlikely without treatment (Ramam et al., 2020).
What factors might affect spontaneous repigmentation?
Very few things have been found to affect spontaneous repigmentation. Sun exposure has been linked to more cases of spontaneous repigmentation (James et al., 2019; Paller & Mancini, 2021). It is more likely to occur if your disease is stable, with no flare ups, and if you’ve been affected by vitiligo for a long period of time and have many spots (Ramam et al., 2020).
Handa, S., & Kaur, I. (1999). Vitiligo: Clinical Findings in 1436 Patients. The Journal of Dermatology, 26(10), 653–657. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1346-8138.1999.tb02067.x
James, W. D., Elston, D., Treat, J. R., & Rosenbach, M. A. (2019). Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology (13th ed.). Elsevier.
Paller, A. M., & Mancini, A. J. (2021). Paller and Mancini – Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology: A Textbook of Skin Disorders of Childhood & Adolescence (6th ed.). Elsevier.
Ramam, M., Taneja, N., Sreenivas, V., Sahni, K., & Gupta, V. (2020). A cross-sectional study of spontaneous repigmentation in vitiligo. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 86(3), 240. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijdvl.ijdvl_409_18