J Korean Med Assoc.  2020 Dec;63(12):731-740. 10.5124/jkma.2020.63.12.731.

Classification and diagnosis of vitiligo

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Cutaneous Biology Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Vitiligo is a relatively common, acquired hypopigmentary disorder caused by the loss of epidermal melanocytes. It is characterized by asymptomatic, well-circumscribed round to oval-shaped whitish patches that vary in size. Depending on various clinical features, vitiligo is classified into several types, that is, non-segmental, segmental, and undetermined/unclassified vitiligo. The uniform classification of vitiligo is very important in predicting its clinical course and prognosis and communication among researchers. In particular, segmental vitiligo is a highly distinctive subtype of vitiligo considering its clinical features and prognosis. It usually has an onset early in life and spreads rapidly within the affected area limited to one segment of the integument. Signs of vitiligo activity such as Koebnerʼs phenomenon, trichrome vitiligo, inflammatory vitiligo, and confetti-like lesions give useful information to start treatments to block the progression of the disease. Lastly, other hypopigmentary disorders should be distinguished from vitiligo to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the right treatment. In this report, I review the clinical features of vitiligo, various subtypes according to classification, and the importance for differential diagnosis of hypopigmentary disorders from vitiligo.


Vitiligo; Classification; Diagnosis; Differential diagnosis; 백반증; 분류; 진단; 감별진단
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