While vitiligo isn't a life-threatening condition, it can still cause confidence and image issues when you're living with it. If you're ready to explore treatment options for your vitiligo, here are a few options you can consider.
Vitiligo produces a wide range of skin pigmentation appearances. In fact, there are three types of vitiligo: focal, generalized, and segmental.
Focal vitiligo is characterized by a few spots in a concentrated area. These spots are often stable and dormant for years at a time. In fact, they may not spread anywhere else at all.
Generalized vitiligo takes the form of many spots and patches all over the body. These patches of lightened skin usually affect both sides of the body in a symmetrical manner. This is also the most common form of vitiligo.
Segmental vitiligo is the rarest form of vitiligo. Unlike generalized vitiligo, this form of the condition is typically characterized by spots or patches that are isolated on one side of the body.
Depending on the form of vitiligo you have, different treatment options may be better suited for your condition. Remember to include this factor in your treatment considerations.
While there's no drug that can stop the process of vitiligo in its tracks, there are medications that, either used alone or in combination with light therapies, can help restore your original skin tone. One option for this kind of treatment is a prescription for medications that control inflammation. A topical corticosteroid cream may be effective at treating early stage vitiligo, but may not take effect for several months. It's also possible that this treatment will cause skin thinning. There are also medications that affect the immune system that could help restore small areas with loss of pigmentation to their original color, especially in areas on the face and neck. If you have a more advanced or widespread case of vitiligo, these treatments may not be feasible or produce any results at all.
Light therapy is one of the most common treatments for the depigmentation that vitiligo causes. Light therapy for vitiligo typically involves the use of a narrow band UVB light to slow or stop active vitiligo. This therapy is typically combined with topical corticosteroids for best results and is administered two to three times weekly for best results. It may take a few months to see results from this treatment option, and it's important to remember that you may develop a mild dry skin rash that will clear up a few hours after treatment. In about six months, you'll likely see the full effect of light therapy vitiligo treatment sessions.
When medication-based treatments and light therapy don't work, it's possible for patients to be considered for surgical treatment options. Skin grafting and blister grafting are the most common surgical treatment options for vitiligo. Both treatments involve taking tissue from your pigmented skin and grafting it onto areas of depigmented skin.
Living with vitiligo can be a challenge for your self-image. If you’re ready to start exploring vitiligo treatment options, contact SE Dermatology Specialists today.