Living with vitiligo can be tough if it's taking a toll on your self-confidence. Fortunately, our team is equipped to help you with that. If you're looking for a vitiligo treatment plan and you're not sure where to turn, here are a few things you should consider asking one of our dermatologists about.
While there's currently no vitiligo cure out there, there are a number of topical and medication-based treatments that can help restore pigmentation to your affected skin. These treatments aren't able to stop the spread of vitiligo across the body, but they can contribute to more even skin pigmentation between affected and unaffected areas. These medications, which come in both topical and systemic forms, can be used alone, but are most often prescribed alongside other forms of vitiligo treatment like light therapy. One of the most common forms of medication-based treatment for vitiligo comes in the form of a prescription for anti-inflammatories. Corticosteroid creams are one of the topical medications included in this category of vitiligo treatments. This type of topical treatment is most effective at treating early stage vitiligo, but might not show results until a few months of regular use. This medication may also cause skin thinning, so make sure you ask your dermatologist about whether your skin is at risk for that side effect. If topical corticosteroids aren't for you, there are other medications that affect the immune system to consider. In most cases, widespread or late-stage vitiligo may not respond to medication-based treatments.
Light therapy is used to treat a number of skin conditions, and vitiligo is one of them. In fact, light therapy is arguably the most common treatment for vitiligo patients. During a light therapy session, your dermatologist will use a narrow band UVB light on the skin that's been affected by vitiligo. In doing so, the treatment can help slow the spread or even stop active cases of vitiligo. As we mentioned earlier, light therapy is commonly combined with topical corticosteroids for maximum effectiveness. It's important to keep in mind that you may not see immediate results, though. Light therapy may be effective for vitiligo, but it will take about six months before you start to see results from your treatment.
When topical medications and light therapy haven't shown any results in treating vitiligo, it's possible to consider surgical treatment methods. Skin grafting and blister grafting are the two most common surgical vitiligo treatments. Each treatment takes pigmented tissue from another part of your body and grafts it onto areas that have suffered depigmentation. While this treatment is effective, it shouldn't be your first course of action. Surgical treatments for vitiligo may not be appropriate for early stage or dormant cases of this condition. Make sure you consult with your doctor about trying another form of treatment before you jump right to surgical treatments for your condition. Keep in mind that skin grafting is considered a major surgery and will require a surgeon and some downtime after.
If you're worried that your vitiligo is spreading or you just haven't found a treatment that works yet, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology and set up an appointment.