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Understanding Vitiligo

Have you ever read an article and afterwards may not have understood all of the terminology they used? Below is a list of common terms associated with vitiligo.

Antibodies: Normally, protective proteins directed against infectious agents or other "foreign" substances.
Antinuclear antibodies: Antibodies a person makes that react with the very nucleus of that person's cells.
Autoimmune diseases: Diseases in which the immune system reacts against the body's own organs or tissues.
Biopsy: A small sample.
Depigmentation: Loss of color in the skin, mucous membranes, hair, or retina of the eye.
Melanin: A yellow, brown, or black pigment that determines skin color. Melanin also acts as a sunscreen and protects the skin from ultraviolet light.
Melanocytes: Special cells that produce the pigment melanin.
Micropigmentation: Tattooing.
Phototherapy: Ultraviolet light that is used in a treatment called phototherapy for certain skin conditions, including vitiligo.
Pigment: A coloring substance in the cells and tissues of the body.
Pigmentation: Coloring of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, and retina of the eye.
Psoralens: Drugs containing chemicals that react with ultraviolet light to cause darkening of the skin.
PUVA: PUVA stands for psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy. The patient is exposed first to psoralens and then to ultraviolet A (UVA) light.
Topical steroid therapy: Treatment with a cortisone-like preparation for local use, for example, as a cream on the skin.
Ultraviolet light A (UVA): One type of radiation that is part of sunlight and reaches the earth's surface. Exposure to UVA can cause the skin to tan.
Uveitis: Inflammation of part of the front portion of the eye.

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