Vitiligo is a condition in which cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for the skin’s pigmentation, are destroyed. This causes patches of white to appear on the skin anywhere on the body. It can also cause discoloration of the skin inside of the mouth and the nose. Approximately 2 million individuals in the United States struggle with this condition. It can affect patients of any race and gender, and typically appears before a patient hits the age of 40 years old.
It is unknown what causes vitiligo. There is belief that vitiligo may be an immune system disorder, while others believe that family genetics play a vital role in the risk of developing this condition. Though research has not proven this, some researchers believe that extreme sunburn or emotional distress is a factor that can increase one’s risk for vitiligo. There is no way to determine if it will spread, for some it does not spread, but for others it spreads to other areas on the body, and the rate may be fast or slow. Patients with vitiligo often notice spreading that occurs after times of physical or emotional stress, which is why researchers believe there is a connection between the emotions and the onset of vitiligo.
When vitiligo appears on the body in places that a patient cannot hide, it can have a negative effect on one’s self-esteem and confidence. It is important for some to find a treatment plan that works for them. Dr. Debra Grayman, of Pure Skin Dermatology in Orlando, offers safe and effective vitiligo treatments.
The treatment may include medical, surgical, or cosmetic approaches. Oral and topical medications may be used, as well as ultraviolet light that can reduce the appearance of these white spots. Bleaching treatments may be used to achieve a lighter skin tone on the surrounding skin to more closely match the areas of vitiligo and provide more even skin tone. Surgical treatment options include skin grafting. Cosmetics can be used to cover up patches of white, while some patients cover small areas with a tattoo. The severity of the issue determines the best solution for patients who struggle with this condition.
At Pure Skin Dermatology, we help patients with numerous skin conditions, including vitiligo. Call our practice today to schedule a consultation appointment and examination to determine the best possible solution to vitiligo and start taking charge of your appearance and self-esteem!