Vitiligoid variant of lichen sclerosus in young girls with darker skin types

Pediatr Dermatol. 2018 Mar;35(2):198-201. doi: 10.1111/pde.13399. Epub 2018 Jan 4.


Background/objectives: Vitiligo and lichen sclerosus are autoimmune disorders characterized by white discoloration, and both frequently affect the anogenital region. Vitiligoid lichen sclerosus refers to a superficial variant of lichen sclerosus in which the lesion appears clinically to be vitiligo based on the predominant presentation of depigmentation and minimal inflammation and sclerosis but histologically is consistent with lichen sclerosus. A limited number of reports have described vitiligoid lichen sclerosus, and from these reports, it appears to primarily affect darker-skinned people.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 7 girls with darker skin types seen in our pediatric dermatology clinic who presented with a clinical overlap of vitiligo and lichen sclerosus. All had primarily well-demarcated, depigmented patches characteristic of vitiligo, but the lesions were symptomatic (pruritus, pain, bleeding, constipation), a presentation more consistent with lichen sclerosus.

Results: The girls were all treated with high-potency topical steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, or both. The associated symptoms improved or resolved, but most had minimal improvement of the depigmentation.

Conclusions: The girls presented in this series appear to have had vitiligoid lichen sclerosus, given the clinical overlap of lichen sclerosus and vitiligo affecting the anogenital region, particularly given that they did not have depigmented patches elsewhere on their body. Previous cases of vitiligoid lichen sclerosus have been reported in darker skin types, and our findings support this possible predisposition. It is important for clinicians to assess patients presenting with genital depigmentation for overlapping features of vitiligo and lichen sclerosus and determine appropriate management.

Keywords: lichen sclerosus; vitiligo; vitiligoid lichen sclerosus.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Anal Canal / pathology
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Genitalia / pathology
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus / diagnosis*
  • Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Vitiligo / diagnosis*
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy


  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Glucocorticoids