Vitiligo is a skin condition that eventually causes it to lose color. It happens when smooth white areas form on the skin and causes everything around it to lose color, including the hair in that area. The smaller smooth white areas are called macules while the larger ones, patches.
When the immune system destroys melanocytes, vitiligo occurs. Melanocytes are cells in the skin that generate melanin. About 1% of the world’s population is suffering from this skin disorder. What’s more, the skin disorder affects people of all races but is usually more visible on a darker complexion.
If vitiligo occurs, you can get treatment to bring back your skin to its former glory. Here in this article, we talk about treatments for vitiligo that are making an impact on most people who are suffering from the condition.
What causes Vitiligo?
Many theories surround the disorder. However, its cause is somehow misunderstood by most people. Below are some of the few that we have gathered:
- Autoimmune disorder- this means that one’s immune system may be interfered with hence developing destructive antibodies that affect the melanocytes.
- Genetic- Now this is a factor that most people with vitiligo relate to. They say that one of the factors could be inherited. This is true because approximately 30% of the cases report that it runs in the family.
- Neurogenic factors- The skin may release a toxic substance at the nerve endings on the skin which may end up affecting melanocytes.
- Self-destruction- an abnormality in the melanocytes may be detected and hence try to destroy each other.
- Emotional/physical stress– it is said that these conditions may trigger vitiligo in some cases.
However, since the causes have not been backed up with scientific findings, we are left to assume that a combination of the above factors could cause vitiligo. Read on to find out more about treatments for vitiligo.
What are the treatments for vitiligo?
Since the cause of vitiligo is yet to be known, finding the precise treatments for vitiligo is also close to impossible. However, when you visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment, their main goal here is to form a uniform skin complexion. This can be done by repigmentation, i.e. restoring the former skin color and depigmentation (getting rid of the remaining color). Here are some of the treatments for vitiligo that may work for most people.
· Skin Camouflage
The goal here is to feel like your old self. Therefore, trying this means, you will be hiding the patches to feel that way. For starters, you can use a 30+ SPF sunscreen to prevent the ultraviolet B and A light from getting through to your skin. Using sunscreens reduces tanning, and thus regulates contrast between the patches and normal skin. Makeups can also help to hide the depigmented parts. In the case where vitiligo affects your hair, hair dyes can come in handy. For extensive vitiligo, one can use the drug monobenzone on the white patches which will turn them to match the condition.
· Repigmentation therapy
This involves the use of corticosteroids. These are either oral pills or cream. One can use them for like three months to see the results. Here, the doctor closely monitors the patient to ensure there are no side effects.
· Light therapy
Light therapy is one of the treatments for vitiligo that requires several sessions that take months. Excimer lasers radiate a wavelength of Narrowband ultraviolet B targeting small areas on the skin. This treatment for vitiligo is ideal for people with minimal patches. When combined with oral psoralen and PUVA, it can be used on large-area treatment.
Perhaps the riskiest of the treatments for vitiligo. This is where skin grafts are placed on the affected area to cover it. Some of the complications may include infection, scarring, or failed repigmentation. Micropigmentation might work on the lips.
The above-mentioned treatments for vitiligo may work if you are constant and follow the right procedures. Once you have a better understanding of the condition, treating it becomes easier by the day.