Our bodies have cells responsible for giving our skin its particular color. However, these cells can die or cease to function, leaving the person with patches of skin that do not have pigment. When this happens, a person is diagnosed with vitiligo. The cause of vitiligo is still currently unknown, but research has found that it may be an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system mistakenly attacks parts of your body. In the case of vitiligo, your immune system may be attacking the melanocytes (cells that give your skin its color). While the number of patients with this condition is low, it can be very damaging to the self-esteem of people who are affected.
What is Vitiligo?
Typically, people who are diagnosed with vitiligo are diagnosed before their 40th birthday, and if you have family members who have had vitiligo or who have had their hair go gray prematurely, then you will have an increased chance of developing vitiligo. The patches initially start off small, and can stay small, but they can often grow and change shape. The discolored patches are often found on places that are more exposed to the sun such as the hands, face and wrists. Some other common areas for vitiligo patches to show up are around the mouth, the eyes, nostrils and other orifices of the body.
Treatment for Vitiligo
At the Center for Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology, we use laser treatments to encourage cell growth. Given the complex nature of lasers and their intense heat and exposure, our team of dermatologists is trained specifically to treat vitiligo. Vitiligo isn’t a physically painful disease, but it can still harm your mental well-being. Some methods of vitiligo treatment include phototherapy, which exposes the skin to UVB lights from UVB lamps. Phototherapy sessions should be done 2-3 times a week. Depending on how long the spots have been on your skin, treatment can take a few weeks up to a few months. The result is skin that you can be proud of, eliminating the self-esteem issues that may have been caused by the condition.
At the Center for Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology, we want you to be at your best. Use the contact form on this page, or contact one of our four branches closest to you and tell us about your vitiligo. Our team of experts at Center for Skin will develop a treatment program designed specifically for you and your skin.