The skin is made up of
two main types of cells or building blocks: keratinocytes and melanocytes. The
keratinocytes make up the bulk of the skin. The melanocytes are the cells that
make the skin color. In people with vitiligo, the immune cells (cells which
fight infection) attack the melanocytes and kill them. When the melanocytes in
a certain area die the skin turns white. No one knows why the immune cells
attack the melanocytes in people with vitiligo.
Vitiligo sometimes runs
in families, meaning that a genetic factor may be involved.
Vitiligo sometimes occurs
at the site of an old injury.