Vitiligo is a condition that causes depigmentation in large patches of skin. Estimates indicate that vitiligo affects up to 2% of the population and develops early in life, between 10 and 30 years.
Symptoms of Vitiligo
Vitiligo is identified by the appearance of white patches on several areas of the skin. Most often these patches appear on skin frequently exposed to the sun, areas around body folds, sites of prior injury, skin around moles and areas surrounding body cavities.
While the exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, there are a number of treatments which can mitigate the condition’s effects.
Corticosteroid creams can help return the skin to its natural color, but treatment needs to be monitored by a doctor in order to avoid dangerous side effects. Though corticosteroid creams are very effective, it may take as long as three months before you see visible improvement in your skin.
PUVA is a form a photochemotherapy in which the skin is exposed to UVA light once or twice per week. Under the UV rays, the skin turns slightly pink. As the skin heals a more normal skin color can reappear.
Narrowband Ultraviolet B (UVB) also uses an ultraviolet light source to treat the depigmented skin. Unlike PUVA, however, UVB can be concentrated on smaller areas of skin. Treatment usually consists of one to two appointments per week.
Continuing research into the causes of vitiligo will hopefully lead to more and more effective treatment options. If you are suffering from vitiligo and would like to set up an appointment, please contact the Skin & Vein Center today.