A Guide to Treating Vitiligo – Step by Step
Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes the skin to lose its color. If an individual is suffering from this condition, then he or she would develop smooth white areas on his or her skin. These smooth white areas are known as macules, if the size of the area is less than 5 mm, or patches, if the size of the area is 5 mm or larger than 5 mm.
If an individual is suffering from vitiligo in an area of the body that has hair, then the hair growing on that area of the body might also turn white. According to experts, this condition occurs when melanocytes, which are the skin cells that produce melanin, the chemical that gives the skin its color, or pigmentation, are destroyed by the body’s immune system.
As you might have guessed already, suffering from this condition is not easy. This is why many people are always looking for treatment for vitiligo. If you are one of those people, then you are in the right place. Today, we’ll take you through what you can do to cure vitiligo in 30 days.
The Types of Vitiligo
Before we can talk about vitiligo treatment cream or vitiligo cream, it is important to learn about the different types of vitiligo. Vitiligo can be categorized into the following types.
- Generalized Vitiligo
This is the most common type of vitiligo. In this condition, the macules appear in several places on the body.
- Segmental Vitiligo
In this type of vitiligo, the affected areas are restricted to one side of the body or one area of the body. For example, vitiligo in the hands or the face.
- Mucosal Vitiligo
This type of vitiligo affects the mucous membranes of the mouth or the genitals. It is also possible for both of the areas to be affected at the same time.
- Focal Vitiligo
This is a rare type of vitiligo. In this type of condition, the macules are very small in size and do not spread in a certain pattern within a year or two.
- Trichome Vitiligo
This type of vitiligo refers to a condition where there is a white or colorless center. After that, there is an area of lighter pigmentation which is further followed by an area of normally colored skin.
- Universal Vitiligo
Universal vitiligo is also a type of rare vitiligo. In this condition, more than 80% of the skin of the body lacks pigment.
The Causes of Vitiligo
It should be noted that experts don’t fully understand the causes of vitiligo. However, there are certain theories in regards to the causes of this condition. According to medical experts, the possible causes of vitiligo are:
- Autoimmune Disorder
It is believed that the patient’s immune system may have developed antibodies that destroy melanocytes, which results in the patient suffering from this condition.
- Genetic Factors
There are certain genetic factors that increase the chances of individual inheriting vitiligo from his or her parents. Statistics also show that about 30% of vitiligo cases run in families.
- Neurogenic Factors
Individuals who suffer from vitiligo might be producing a substance in their bodies that is toxic to melanocytes. This substance might be released at the nerve endings of the skin.
There can be potential defects in the melanocytes that might cause these cells to destroy themselves.
Beyond this, vitiligo might also be triggered by certain events that include a higher level of physical and emotional stress. It is also possible that a combination of these factors might be responsible for causing vitiligo.
How Is Vitiligo Diagnosed?
Medical professionals can usually diagnose vitiligo by looking at the white patches that are easily visible on the skin. However, in some cases, medical professionals might also use a wood lamp that shines ultraviolet light (UV) onto the skin to help differentiate this condition from any other similar skin conditions.
How is Vitiligo Treated?
Sadly, there is no cure for vitiligo. But a medical professional can work towards the goal of creating a medical treatment that would help in establishing a uniform skin tone. This can be done by either restoring color, which is also known as repigmentation or eliminating the remaining color, which is depigmentation.
All of this can be achieved through treatment methods like camouflage therapy, repigmentation therapy, light therapy, and surgery. Let’s take a closer look at all of these treatments.
- Camouflage Therapy
During this treatment, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher than 30 is used. This sunscreen should shield ultraviolet B light and ultraviolet A light, which are also known as UVB and UVA, respectively.
The use of sunscreens will also minimize tanning and limit the contrast between the affected area and the normal skin. One can also use makeup to camouflage the depigmented areas. One can also use hair dyes if vitiligo has also affected his or her hair.
- Depigmentation Therapy
The depigmentation therapy with the drug monobenzone can be used in this condition is very extensive. This medication can be applied to the pigmented patches of the skin and it will turn those areas of the skin into white to match the areas of vitiligo.
- Repigmentation Therapy
Patients can take corticosteroids orally or topically for this therapy to work. The results for this therapy can take up to 3 months and the doctor will monitor the patient during that time for any side effects like skin thinning or stretch marks. One can also use topical vitamin D analogs or topical immunomodulators like calcineurin inhibitors.
- Light Therapy
In light therapy, patients have to go through two or three treatment sessions per week for several months. These treatment sessions include narrow band ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) light. The excimer lasers emit a wavelength of ultraviolet light close to that of the narrow band UVB.
This is better for patients who do not have widespread or large lesions. This treatment is delivered to small and targeted areas of the skin. If the patient has vitiligo in larger areas of the skin, then a combination of oral psoralen and UVA (PUVA) can be used. This treatment is very effective for individuals who suffer from vitiligo in the areas of the head, neck, upper arms, legs, and trunk.
Autologous skin grafts that are extracted from the patient can be used to cover the part of the body that is affected by vitiligo. However, some possible complications of this procedure include infection, failure to repigment, and scarring. This treatment is also known as mini grafting.