If you've been diagnosed with vitiligo and you have questions about the treatment options available to you, you've come to the right place. Here's some important information and a few treatment options for you to 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 that are often dormant for years at a time. Generalized vitiligo takes the form of many spots and patches all over the body in a symmetrical pattern and is the most common form of vitiligo. Segmental vitiligo is the rarest form of vitiligo and presents as spots or patches that are isolated to a single side of the body. Depending on your vitiligo diagnosis, different treatments may be more or less appropriate for your condition. This is especially important to consider if your vitiligo has reached an advanced state. If this is the case, your treatment options may be more limited and less effective. So before you ask your doctor about a specific treatment, make sure you're talking at length about your vitiligo diagnosis during your treatment consultation.
Unfortunately, there's currently no cure for vitiligo, there are several methods of vitiligo treatment that have been helpful in restoring skin pigment to affected areas of the body. One of the most common courses of treatment for this condition is medication-based treatment. And while there's currently no medication on the market that can stop vitiligo from spreading entirely, it's possible for certain medications to help restore your original skin tone in affected areas. These medications can be used alone, but are often used in tandem with other forms of vitiligo treatment like light therapy, which we'll cover here. One of the most commonly used medications for this type of treatment is a prescription for anti-inflammatories. Topical corticosteroid creams are one of the medications that fall under this category. But while a topical corticosteroid cream may be helpful with early stage vitiligo, it may not take effect for the first few months of use. Skin thinning is also a side effect you need to be wary of. However, topical corticosteroids aren't your only course of medication-based treatment. Certain medications that affect the immune system could help mitigate early-stage vitiligo, especially on the face and neck. Most medication-based vitiligo treatments have better results with early-stage cases. More widespread or late-stage cases of vitiligo may not react to this type of treatment.
Light therapy for vitiligo is another common treatment option for patients. In fact, light therapy is the most common vitiligo treatment. This type of vitiligo treatment uses a narrow band UVB light on affected skin to help slow or stop active cases of vitiligo. This kind of therapy is usually combined with topical corticosteroid creams, as we mentioned above, for the best results. But even with the help of corticosteroids, light therapy may require a few months of treatments before results manifest. In fact, you probably won't see the full results of light therapy for your vitiligo until about six months into your treatment.
If both medication-based treatment and light therapy have shown little to no results for your vitiligo, it's possible that surgical treatment may be a viable treatment option for you. The two most common surgical treatments for vitiligo are skin grafting and blister grafting. Both treatments consist of taking pigmented tissue from unaffected areas of your body and grafting it onto areas that have been affected by vitiligo. While this can be an effective treatment, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about trying other options first, as this treatment is considered major surgery and will require a bit of downtime.
Vitiligo causes confidence issues for countless individuals. Fortunately, these treatments can help. If you’re ready to talk about your treatment options for vitiligo, contact SE Dermatology Specialists today.