Vitiligo is a condition in which a person’s skin loses pigment in blotches and patches. It’s caused by the death of melanocytes (skin cells that help produce melanin), which are essential for producing skin color and pigment. While vitiligo can occur in people of any skin, color, it is most noticeable in people of darker complexion. Around 2 percent of the world’s population experienced vitiligo.
The use of make-up can help mask the uneven patches of skin, but many people with the condition would prefer a more permanent solution. Here at Full Spectrum Dermatology, Dr. William Baugh has helped numerous patients who have vitiligo. Our Fullerton, CA practice has cosmetic lasers that revitalize, repair, and rejuvenate the skin, and can recommend other treatments as needed. Let’s briefly cover some of the common treatments for vitiligo and which might be ideal for you.
While drugs won’t be able to restore melanocytes, some medications can help restore skin tone to a certain degree. The use of corticosteroid creams in affected patches of skin can help some color return to the skin, though the result may not be apparent for a few months. The right cream/ointment and concentration can be determined during a consultation.
Vitiligo Laser/Light Therapies
A combination of psoralen (a plant-derived substance) and light therapy has shown some effectiveness in restoring pigment to the skin. These carefully controlled and monitored exposure to ultraviolet light may take several months to show results, but it’s quite effective for many patients.
Vitiligo and Depigmentation
If the vitiligo is widespread, a dermatologist may recommend depigmentation of the colored patches of your skin. This will help create a more consistent skin tone. Like the other therapies mentioned above, depigmentation will require several months of repeated and consistent treatment before results are apparent.
Surgery for Vitiligo
In some cases, patients have undergone surgical treatments for their vitiligo. This generally involves skin grafting to patch over the discolored areas. While this can be effective, the surgery can produce scarring and carries with it the usual risks of complications of any surgical procedure.
A Potential Breakthrough in Vitiligo Treatment
Earlier this year, doctors reported a potential breakthrough in vitiligo treatment. It involved combining the oral medication Xeljanz (tofacitinib) with ultraviolet-B light therapy. While this new process was only performed on two patients, the results were dramatic and warrant further study.
Working with You to Address Your Needs
As you can see, there are many approaches to consider when it comes to addressing vitiligo. When you come to our practice for treatment, we can go over all options available in greater detail and figure out the right treatment plan for you. Even though results may not be apparent for months, consistent treatment and support from our team will be helpful in evening out the complexion and pigment of your skin.
Learn More About Treating Vitiligo
For more information about treating vitiligo and what option may be right for you, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic dermatologist and skin care expert. Dr. Baugh is here to help. You can reach Full Spectrum Dermatology by phone at (714) 879-4312.