Vitiligo can appear in several different patterns on the skin. These patterns have been classified into different categories as follows:
Generalized vitiligo is the most common form of vitiligo. Lesions are usually symmetrical, on both sides of the body. Common locations include the hands, wrists, elbows, underarms, eyelids, nostrils, lips, ears, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Early on, lesions may be localized to just a few areas. This form of vitiligo usually progresses. The rate of progression can be very slow or fast. Research is currently under way to find a way to predict prognosis in patients with generalized vitiligo.
Segmental vitiligo appears as one or more areas of depigmentation on only one side of the body. Lesions can occur on the face, neck, trunk arms or legs. These lesions often present in childhood and usually stabilize in a few years.
Universal vitiligo is severe form of vitiligo in which more than 80% of the body loses pigment. This is the least common form of vitiligo.
Lip-tip vitiligo is an unusual form of vitiligo which only occurs on the lips, fingers and toes.
Focal vitiligo is an uncommon form of vitiligo in which just one or a few isolated lesions appear on the skin in no consistent pattern. Sometimes focal vitiligo is an early form of generalized vitiligo in which the lesions have not yet spread throughout the body yet. Focal vitiligo is usually easier to treat than generalized vitiligo.