The list of the differences between vitiligo and fungus of the skin really begins with the causes. But they have in common a tendency to change the skin’s coloration. And they can be difficult to live with, even demoralizing, especially if the discoloration is very noticeable.
So what are the differences?
Vitiligo: This is an autoimmune condition. The specific cause in any one case is usually unknown. But in general, vitiligo is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying pigment cells in the skin.
Fungus: A skin fungus is the result of a microbe infecting the skin. The discoloration comes from the surface of the skin, not from within, as with vitiligo.
Vitiligo: Because the pigment cells are being destroyed, the skin affected by vitiligo is always lighter than the surrounding skin.
Fungus: Skin affected by a fungal infection may be lighter or it may be darker. One of the differences between vitiligo and fungus is that a fungus doesn’t have a predictable effect on skin color. Fungus may also cause flakiness, which may make the skin appear ashy or whitish.
Vitiligo: In some cases, the skin may itch, but not necessarily.
Fungus: The sensations involved can range from itching to burning to pain. It would depend on the fungus involved.
Vitiligo: With vitiligo, everything’s happening beneath the surface, so the skin itself feels normal to the touch.
Fungus: Since the fungus is infecting the surface of the skin, it’s likely to feel rough, bumpy, or scaly. And it may also be flaky.
Vitiligo: At this point, there’s no cure for vitiligo. Treatment may involve corticosteroid creams or phototherapy to restore color, or even skin transplant surgery. But there is hope on the horizon.
Fungus: Skin fungi can generally be treated successfully with antifungal medications.
Hope for Vitiligo
There is some research that offers hope for a cure, or at least a more effective treatment. For instance, research is ongoing into improved derivatives of a compound called psoralen. And herbs such as gingko biloba are being studied for their effects on vitiligo.
One of the most profound differences between vitiligo and fungus is the cure rate. Hopefully, we can one day make vitiligo easy to treat and easy to cure.