Presentations, Signs of Activity, and Differential Diagnosis of Vitiligo

Dermatol Clin. 2017 Apr;35(2):135-144. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2016.11.004.


Vitiligo has a variety of presentations, including focal, acrofacial, segmental, and generalized forms. Thorough knowledge of these presentations is important to make the correct diagnosis. Signs of activity are important to recognize so that treatment is optimized. Clinical findings of confettilike depigmentation, trichrome and inflammatory vitiligo, and the Koebner phenomenon should alert the clinician that a patient's disease is likely to worsen. These patients may require systemic treatment to stabilize their disease. Many other skin disorders present with hypopigmentation or depigmentation and must be distinguished to determine the right diagnosis, advise the patient on prognosis, and prescribe the correct treatment.

Keywords: Clinical activity; Confetti; Differential diagnosis; Koebner; Presentations; Trichrome; Vitiligo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypopigmentation / diagnosis*
  • Hypopigmentation / etiology
  • Leprosy, Tuberculoid / complications
  • Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid / complications
  • Piebaldism / diagnosis
  • Pityriasis / complications
  • Tinea Versicolor / complications
  • Vitiligo / diagnosis*