Vitiligo (White Patch) Treatment

What is vitiligo?

White patches on the skin, is a condition of pigmentation disorder. Vitiligo, is often visible as white patches, as the cells that make the pigmentation in the skin, called melanocytes, are destroyed, and then white patches appear on the skin in various parts of the body. White patches, are also known to appear on both the mucous of the membranes which line the inside of the mouth, nose and also the retina.

How is vitiligo caused?

There are different ways that you can get vitiligo, the most common way of getting vitiligo is as it is an autoimmune disease, hence the human body produces proteins called cytokines, in which the vitiligo,alters their pigment-producing cells, and cause these cells to die. There is also another theory, which is that people with vitiligo inherit a group of three genes,which makes them susceptible to de-pigmentation. Vitiligo, is also known to be hereditary and may run in the family.

vitiligo treatment

Are there treatment options for vitiligo?

There are various treatments options, which exist for vitiligo, some of which involve topical applications while others are surgical options. There are treatments, which are administered topically and they are:

Topical steroid therapy: White patches which may be re-pigmented or removed with the help of steroid creams which are topically applied,this treatment is known to be most helpful in the early stages of vitiligo. These creams are known to cause certain side effects and need to be monitored with care.

Psoralen photochemotherapy: This is a therapy, which uses chemicals which react with ultraviolet light and , due to this reason, cause darkening of the skin. Psoralen is then ingested or even applied topically to and the area, which is to be treated and exposed, for a specific time, to sunlight or ultraviolet light which comes from a special lamp, as procedure. After being exposed, to the ultraviolet light which comes from the special lamp , due to which the skin usually becomes pink and then gradually darkens to match the surrounding skin. The two major potential side effects, of this therapy which may occur, with severe sunburn marks and blistering and also too much darkening(hyper-pigmentation) of the treated patches or the normal skin surrounding the vitiligo.

De-pigmentation: This is a procedure, where by an application of drugs are used so that the remaining skin is matched with the other areas of the body which are already white.. The major side effects, of de-pigmentation therapy is a permanent effect the area subjected to de-pigmentation which will always be unusually sensitive to sunlight. The main goal of treating vitiligo, is to improve appearance. The therapy for vitiligo, usually takes a long time, and it must be continued for about 6-18 months. The choice of the therapy depends upon the number of white patches, their size, their location, and how widespread they are; and what you prefer in terms of treatment. It depends from patient to patient, and how they respond to the therapy and also depends if the treatment works for them. There are particular treatment options for vitiligo, which include medication, surgery, and adjunctive therapies(which are used along with surgical or medical treatments). AT Concept Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Centre, Vitiiligo can be treated surgically using the following methods:

A treatment known as autologous skin grafts:

Autologous skin grafts: With this treatment, the doctor removes, normal or pigmented skin from one area of the body and graft or attach it to the de-pigmented area(where white patches appear). Patients with small patches of vitiligo,this kind of treatment is used. With this procedure, scarring may occur after the grafting is performed , such scars can be treated with various options and may disappear gradually.

Micro-pigmentation (tattooing): This procedure is similar to tattooing, in which normally done for fashion. The doctor will implant the pigment onto the white patch and with the help of a surgical instrument, this treatment works best for patients who have dark skin. It is sometimes difficult to match the tattoo perfectly to the colour of the surrounding skin and the tattoo, which does not react to sunlight like the rest of the skin will. With Micro-pigmentation tattooing may also fade over time.