Vitiligo is a condition where white patches appear on the skin. It is a long-term disease. Vitiligo can occur anywhere on the skin. However, it mostly affects the face, neck and hands.
Lack of melanin causes Vitiligo. Melanin is the dark pigment in the skin. Vitiligo can cause problems for instance sunburn, hearing problems, and eye complications. The sunburns can be painful There is no cure for vitiligo. However, doctors can prescribe treatments that help the skin. Treatment also slower the loss of color.
- Loss of skin color.
- Loss of color in the tissues that are inside the mouth.
- Graying of hair on eyelashes, eyebrows and beards.
Causes of vitiligo.
- A disorder in the immune system.
- Vitiligo can be caused by stress.
- Severe sunburn.
- Skin contact with chemicals.
- Vitiligo is heredity.
Treatment depends on the age of the patient. In addition, it depends on how much skin is involved and where. Medications are available to help restore skin color. However, they may have serious side effects. The process may take long to work. Treatment is through surgery, drugs, and therapy. A patient has to try more than one method.
Above all, doctors ask the patients about their medical history and examine the skin. In addition, diagnosis is through blood tests and skin biopsy. The blood tests are ANA which detects antinuclear antibodies and a complete blood count test.
No drug can stop vitiligo. However, some drugs can help restore skin color. For instance:
- Drugs that control swelling.
Applying a prescribed cream to affected skin might return color. This is effective when the vitiligo is in the early stages. The cream is easy to use and might take several months to notice a change. Side effects include the appearance of lines on the skin and skin thinning.
- Drugs that affect the immune system.
For instance, tacrolimus and pimecrolimus help restore pigment on the face and neck.
- Drugs to stimulate color producing cells.
Afamelanotide is put under the skin to promote the growth of melanocytes.
- Drugs that help control melanocytes
This drug is applied to the skin as a gel therefore it helps to restore skin color in people with vitiligo.
- Avoid getting tattoos.
- Protect the skin from the sun by using sunscreen.
- Covering the skin with makeup.
In conclusion, this condition has no cure. However, some treatments can help out with the skin tone.