Vitiligo Treatment: Is There a Cure?

There are three myths that prevail regarding vitiligo treatment news in the medical profession.

The first of these myths is that are no viable treatments. This statement is completely untrue because there are quite a number of people who suffer from this disease and have had remarkable results after vitiligo treatment.

The second myth is that the basis of vitiligo treatments, which is oral psoralens, damages the liver. This treatment does not have any adverse effect to the liver and numerous physicians continue to regard this mode of treatment as highly effective.

The third myth is that one can get skin cancer from using psoralen in addition to UVA (PUVA) to treat this ailment. There have been no studies or inquiries that have determined that such statements are accurate.

Treatment Options

Bearers of this disease have one of four options with regards to vitiligo treatment. The first is to bleach the skin with creams to even out the skin tone, restore the skin to its original color, wear sunscreen, or cover up any skin discoloration.

Sunscreen plays a dual purpose. The first of these is to prevent sunburn on uninvolved skin, and the second is to restrict normal skin from developing pigmentation.

For effective results, the sun protection factor (SPF) of the desired sunscreen should be stronger than SPF 30, which not only controls how much sun reaches the DNA in skin cells and blocks erythema.

Treating VitiligoRestoration of skin to its original color may come in the form of whole body treatment or spot treatment. Spot treatments come in one of three ways:

  1. Topical corticosteroid creams: This straightforward vitiligo treatment yields results in two months if successful. If unsuccessful, one should seek the advice of their physician.
  2. Mini grafting: this is where normal skin is grafted onto affected areas. This is a useful technique as it stimulates the spread of normal pigmentation wherever the “new” skin is grafted.
  3. Topical Oxsoralen: this is a much more complicated method than use of Topical corticosteroid creams because this treatment is likely to induce sunburn, as it is very photo toxic. This method is only viable for small spots and should be conducted solely as an office procedure. The patient ought to be well versed in the risks this method carries and only an experienced physician should carry out the procedure

Whole body treatments come in handy when the vitiligo is widespread. Before the procedure can begin, the patient is examined ophthalmogically and ANA blood tests are carried out. The treatments are conducted twice a week, but no two days in a row, until there is recorded improvement.

Whole body treatments have an 85 percent success rate in patients presenting with vitiligo of the trunk, legs, upper arms, neck, and head.

Where the vitiligo is confined only to the hands or feet, it responds poorly and is, at best, not worth this course of action.

The risks of this course of treatment are acute dryness, hyper-pigmentation, sunburn, and nausea. Patients who opt for whole body treatments should have reasonable goals and be highly motivated to complete it once they begin.

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