Hypomelanosis of Ito & Skin Pigmentation

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Blaschko’s lines are lines on the skin which are usually invisible and become apparent in some diseases of the skin. They follow a ‘V’ shape over the back and spiral swirls on the chest, stomach and sides. Hypomelanosis of Ito (HI) is a syndrome with hypopigmented swirls along the Blaschko lines. When the skin is hypopigmented, it has less pigmentation than the rest of the skin and is therefore paler. These hypopigmented areas are not symmetrical but are usually found on both sides of the body.

What causes HI?

There are various genes which are linked with HI, but it is still unknown which gene is the one responsible for HI.

Who can get HI?

HI is a very rare disease and the incidence of it is unknown. It can affect all races but is around twice as common in women as it is in men. HI is a congenital disease which means that it is present when you are born. The pigmented areas usually become lighter over time but are not too obviously different from your normal skin.

Is HI dangerous?

HI rarely causes people to die because it is a disease of the skin only. It can occasionally cause seizures as well as mental retardation and deafness.

How is HI treated?

There are no treatments for the skin discolouration caused by HI. There are other specific treatments for HI linked problems such as the seizures.

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