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Vitiligo

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by Rosenblum LB
 

Treatment

There is no known cure for vitiligo. Often, the longer the patches exist, the harder it is to repigment the area. Treatment is geared to decreasing the appearance of patches by:
  • Repigmentation—replace skin color in patches
  • Slowing loss of color
  • Decreasing the difference between affected and unaffected skin
This may be done by:

Excimer Laser

This is a special UV laser. It is shown to be effective in localized cases.

Skin Creams

  • Corticosteroid skin cream—can sometimes slow the loss of color. It may also help return color to small areas. It may cause thinning of the skin.
  • Tacrolimus or pimecrolimus skin creams—can sometimes slow the loss of color. They can help return color to small areas. They may also cause thinning of the skin.
  • Skin grafting —done if the condition is not widespread and stable. It may be possible to graft areas of normal pigmentation to the patches.
Skin Graft
Skin Graft
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Depigmentation

This involves removing the remaining pigment from your normal skin. This treatment makes your whole body the same white color. It is only done if you have already lost a large amount of your normal skin color and repigmentation has not been successful. The medicine used is called monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone 20%. This treatment takes about one year to complete. It can cause side effects, such as redness and swelling of your skin.

Cosmetics

You can make your white patches less noticeable. Makeup, dyes, stains, or self-tanning lotions can work as a cover. However, the color from dyes, stains, and lotions slowly wears off.

Sunscreen

The purpose of sunscreen is to:
  • Protect the depigmented area from the damaging effects of sun exposure
  • Prevent increased pigmentation of other areas
Depigmented areas are at much higher risk for skin cancer.
 

RESOURCES

American Academy of Dermatology
http://www.aad.org

National Vitiligo Foundation, Inc.
http://www.mynvfi.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Dermatology Association
http://www.dermatology.ca

Dermatologists.ca
http://www.dermatologists.ca

 

References


Gawkrodger DJ, Ormerod AD, Shaw L, Mauri-Sole I, Whitton ME, Watts MJ, Anstey AV, Ingham J, Young K; Therapy Guidelines and Audit Subcommittee, British Association of Dermatologists; Clinical Standards Department, Royal College of Physicians of London; Cochrane Skin Group; Vitiligo Society. Guideline for the diagnosis and management of vitiligo. Br J Dermatol . 2008 Nov;159(5):1051-76.


Kanwar AJ, Dogra S, Parsad D, Kumar B. Narrow-band UVB for the treatment of vitiligo: an emerging effective and well-tolerated therapy. Int J Dermatol. 2005;44:57-60.


Nicolaidou E, Antoniou C, Stratigos A, Katsambas AD. Narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy and 308-nm excimer laser in the treatment of vitiligo: A review. J Am Acad Dermatol . 2009 Jan 19.


Taïeb A, Picardo M. Clinical practice. Vitiligo. N Engl J Med . 2009 Jan 8;360(2):160-9.


Vitiligo. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/u---w/vitiligo . Accessed June 4, 2013.


Vitiligo. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Vitiligo/default.asp . Updated August 2010. Accessed June 4, 2013.


Vitiligo basics. National Vitiligo Foundation website. Available at: http://www.mynvfi.org/about%5Fvitiligo . Accessed June 4, 2013.

 

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