vitiligo is a skin disease of unknown etiology that affects 1% of the population. it affects both sexes equally and the mean age at onset is between 10 and 30 years. some of the factors involved are: emotional or physical stress, mechanical trauma, chemicals such as phenol and certain diseases. autoimmune diseases, especially of thyroid origin, may be linked to vitiligo. new and emerging therapies have been proposed such as topical immunomodulators, allied to traditional therapies with psoralen and steroids. the most important factor in the therapeutic success depends on the doctor and patient relationship.