Dr. Seher Arı

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a skin disease with white areas caused by loss of pigments in the skin and with no known exact cause. Any area of the body may be affected with most oftenly face, lips, hands, arms, legs and genital areas. It’s seen in 1% of the world population and affects males, females and all races equally.

Which People Have Vitiligo?

Vitiligo; affects 1 or 2 individuals out of 100 patients; while it can be seen at all ages from infancy to old ages, it begins before the age of 20 in half of the patients and 20 % of the patients have family backgrounds.

Is Vitiligo An Internal Organ Disease? Is It Contagious?

Vitiligo is not caused by any internal organ disease; for this reason many patients’ general state of health is good. Vitiligo is not contagious.

What Are The Causes Of Vitiligo?

The pigment called as melanin determines skin, hair and eye color and is produced in cells called melanocytes. If these cells die or cannot produce melanin, skin gets a lighter-colored state or becomes fully white. It’s not exactly known what causes this.

How Does Vitiligo Occur?

In vitiligo, the body makes autoantibodies against its’ own melanocytes and damages them; same autoantibodies may cause damage in other organs such as thyroid. For this reason, there may be other autoimmune diseases which may occur simultaneously with vitiligo. Vitiligo may be triggered by sunburn. While the difference between areas with vitiligo and normal skin in light skinned people becomes more apparent at summer, vitiligo is more noticeable for the whole year in darker skinned people.

How Vitiligo Diagnoses Is Made?

White areas occurring on the skin may be seen not only in vitiligo but also in other diseases. Distinguishing diagnoses of these white areas is made by a dermatologist. If necessary, skin biopsy can be taken for a definitive diagnoses but most of the time diagnoses can be made clinically by the look of white areas.

Is Vitiligo A disease With A Cure?

Vitiligo is a curable disease but results of cure may show personal differences as its’ cause is not known exactly. There are different treatment options and these must be practiced at least for 3 months. Treatment of choice should absolutely be decided with a dermatologist.

Are Herbal Products Have A Place In Vitiligo Treatment?

Do not apply any treatment that are said to be herbal (pills or creams) but not approved by the Ministry of Health and do consult your doctor in all conscience.

What’s Used In vitiligo Treatment?

  1. Creams: Cortisone creams and creams containing tacrolimus and pimecromilus can be used in treatment under dermatologist’s control.
  2. Phototherapy: Treatment made using the various wavelengths of ultraviolet light. Phototherapy must absolutely be made under dermatologist’s control. Solarium is a device used for cosmetical purposes and should not be used for treatment as it may cause many situations ranging from burns to skin cancer.
    Excimer laser treatment
  3. Grafting: Skin transplantation from healthy skin area to the area with vitiligo has worked in too little number of patients and is not made in many countries. Plus, full pigmentation usually does not occur in treated areas.
  4. Depigmentation therapy The best solution in some patients with serious involvement is to removing the remaining pigment in the skin and making the skin completely whiter. It’s made with creams containing hydroquinone monobenzyl ether. Finishing this treatment takes about a year. Pigment lost is permanent.
  5. Sun protection: White areas in vitiligo may easily be burnt under the sun, that’s why sun protecting creams with at least 30 sun protection factor should always be used. It’s not enough to apply cream only when having a swim or sunbathing. Sunbathing should be at durations and certain hours suggested by your doctor. Sun protective wears and sun glasses should be used.
  6. Camouflage: If no treatment is beneficial, camouflage application can be made by concealing the white areas with permanent makeup.

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