If you've been diagnosed with vitiligo, you might be in the market for vitiligo treatment. Fortunately, we can help you with that. Here's some more information on vitiligo and a few potential treatment options to consider.
While vitiligo is defined as a disease that causes the loss of skin color (melanin) in patches on the body, this condition actually produces a wide range of skin pigmentation loss. In fact, there are three types of vitiligo: generalized, segmental, and focal.
Generalized vitiligo is the most common diagnosis and most often presents as multiple spots and patches of lost pigmentation in a symmetrical pattern all over the body.
Segmental vitiligo is the least commonly diagnosed form of vitiligo and typically presents as spots or patches of pigmentation loss isolated to one side of the body or the other.
Focal vitiligo presents as small spots where skin pigment is lost in a concentrated area. These clusters of spots are usually stable and can be dormant for years at a time.
It might seem unnecessary to review this information, but your specific vitiligo diagnosis is going to play a big role in which treatments are going to work best for you.
Light therapy is a common treatment choice for vitiligo. This type of vitiligo treatment involves a narrow band UVB light that can help restore pigmentation to areas of your skin affected by vitiligo. This therapy can be combined with topical corticosteroids and typically needs to be administered a few times weekly for the best results. In most cases, it can take a few months to see results from light therapies for vitiligo. You may also experience dryness, redness, and a little bit of tenderness in your skin after each treatment. These side effects usually only last a few hours after your treatment sessions. And in about six months, you'll likely see the full results from your treatment! Keep in mind that you'll likely still need to attend regular sessions to maintain these treatments, too.
While there's currently no vitiligo cure, there are a number of medication-based treatments that may help minimize the appearance of some vitiligo spots. These medications, either used alone or in combination with light therapies, may help restore your original skin tone in areas where you've lost pigment as a result of vitiligo. Prescription medications that prevent inflammation are often used in this form of vitiligo treatment. Something like a topical corticosteroid cream may be effective at treating early stage vitiligo, but this treatment may also not start to take effect for several months. It's also unfortunately possible that a topical treatment like this will cause skin thinning. There are other medication options, too. Some medications that affect the immune system may be helpful in restoring pigmentation to the skin, especially in areas on the face and neck. A more advanced case of vitiligo, or a case of generalized vitiligo that affects the entire body, may not respond to this kind of treatment.
If you've tried medication-based treatments and light therapies to no avail, it could be time to discuss surgical vitiligo treatment options with your dermatologist. Skin grafting and blister grafting are two of the most common treatment options when it comes to surgically stopping vitiligo. Both treatments involve taking tissue from your pigmented skin and grafting it onto areas of depigmented skin to even out your skin tone.
Living with vitiligo is different for everyone. If you're ready to look into the treatment options available to you, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology and set up an appointment.