Dr. Vivekananda Bhat MBBS, MS., Consultant Cosmetic Surgeon. Having 14 years of Experience in Cosmetic Surgery
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Psoriasis And Vitiligo, Differences In Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Psoriasis and Vitiligo tough to differentiate between many skin conditions due to the similarities in appearance or lack of adequate knowledge. Such situations can be stressful for the patients and an immediate diagnosis ensures appropriate and timely treatment.


Let’s take a look at the differences between two skin disorders that are often confused with each other to better equip ourselves at identifying them.


A person having Vitiligo on skin will notice loss of skin color in blotches on the body. Usually the blotches occur on both sides of the body and can affect any part that has skin pigment(melanin) like hair, face, legs, eyes and even inside the mouth.

The patches are not itchy or scaly, and the skin texture remains unchanged.

It is seen that white patches occur more on parts exposed to the sun and parts of the skin that get rubbed and abrased.  The severity and rate of pigment loss varies from person to person and cannot be predicted.


On noticing white patches on the body or face, a medical diagnosis including physical examination, lab test and patient history can help in determining the cause as Vitiligo and present treatment options available for the patient.


Psoriasis on the other hand is a skin condition that occurs due to rapid growth of skin cells. Our outer skin keeps shedding skin cells which are replaced by new skin cells in normal conditions. In Psoriasis, the new skin cells grow much faster and don’t fall off resulting in a buildup in different body parts like elbows, knees and even scalp, fingernails and toenails.

The clusters of patches of thick skin or pitted fingernails can cause burning or itchy sensation. Sometimes extreme dryness results in cracked skin which the patient may itch repeatedly and injure.


A doctor diagnoses psoriasis by checking the medical history and examining the skin, scalp and nails. In rare cases a skin biopsy is required.

Difference between Psoriasis and Vitiligo:

The symptoms of Psoriasis are distinctly different from Vitiligo as they can be itchy, painful and may even bleed.

Vitiligo patients don’t experience any other physical symptoms of pain or discomfort other than the visual appearance.

Treatment Options:

There is no true cure for either Psoriasis or Vitiligo. But there are many cosmetic procedures and coping strategies available to help decrease and cover the symptoms.

The treatment of Psoriasis using oral drugs, injectables and topical ointments is reserved for moderate to severe cases.  Doctors often recommend Phototherapy in which the skin is exposed to UV light to control the rapidly growing new skin cells.

The Treatment for Vitiligo is targeted towards restoring the color of the patches.  Choice of treatment depends on factors like location, size and numbers of white patches on the face.

Although there is no set standard for treating Vitiligo and not every treatment option will show the same result in different patients, patients seek a treatment that gives long termed solution with minimum side effects for a better appearance of the face.

Multiple treatment options for Vitiligo include – skin creams, oral medicine, treatment using Ultraviolet A(UVA) light(PUVA), decolouration of surrounding skin area and surgical options like skin grafting.