Tuesday, March 24, 2015
How to deal with vitiligo
It is not contagious or harmful but can affect appearance and sense of well-being.
It starts with small areas of light or white skin--often in areas exposed to the sun. Sometimes this does not spread and sometimes it does. Hair and eye changes can also occur.
This occurs when melanocytes--the cells that produce melanin pigment--die or stop producing melanin.
This is thought to be an autoimmune thing--the body turning on itself.
It can run in families and may be set off by a severe sunburn.
According to Alicia Cool, MD, Advanced Dermatology in Albertson NY, vitiligo is treated by several methods.
--Topical steroid creams--best when used early on.
--Topical immunosuppressant ointments--best for small areas of it.
--Ultraviolet A (UVA) in combination with a med call psoralen. This is used when depigmentation is over 20% of the body.
--Narrow-band ultraviolet B (UVB)--No psoralen.
--Eximer laser--for small areas.
--Depigmentation--Used when the disorder is very widespread or if other things fail. A med is applied to the skin over a long period--lightening all the skin.
There are other methods, too... Consult your dermatologist.
Bottom line--It may be unsightly or disturbing but does not threaten your health.