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What Exactly Is Vitiligo?

Dec 7, 2011

Vitiligo is hardly a household name, and for good reason; it occurs in just one of every one hundred people. To learn more about vitiligo, read on:

What Is Vitiligo ?

Vitiligo is a condition in which the cells in your skin that produce melanin die. This means that your skin cannot create pigment, and patches of skin that are affected by vitiligo turn white. Obviously, the paler you are, the less noticeable vitiligo is. Skin that is affected by vitiligo still feels perfectly normal. The condition is most likely to occur on the patient’s genitals, elbows, face, hands, knees, and feet.

What Causes Vitligo?

No one knows for certain, but the most popular current theory is that vitiligo is the side effect of an autoimmune disorder; the idea is that the body is turning on itself and destroying its own melanin-producing cells. This theory is bolstered by the fact that vitiligo is more likely to happen to people with hyperthyroidism, Addison’s disease, and pernicious anemia, all of which are autoimmune disorders.

How Is Vitiligo Treated?

There are many different possible treatments for vitiligo . You and your doctor can choose which course of treatment is appropriate for you based on factors such as how long you’ve had the condition and how much skin it has affected. Vitiligo isn’t technically dangerous—it will raise your risk of skin cancer in the affected areas, but that can be offset by wearing sunscreen—so most of the treatment options deal more with the cosmetic aspect of the illness than anything else. Treatment options consist of:

  • Topical medications applied to the affected areas, including corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and oxsoralen
  • Skin dye or makeup
  • Phototherapy
  • Skin grafts
  • Pigment removal. This last option is very rarely used, and is only performed if the vast majority of the patient’s skin has been affected by vitligo.

If you suspect that you might be suffering from vitiligo, then you need to see a dermatologist immediately. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more treatment options will be available to you. If you’re looking for a great dermatologist, then you should consult with Arlington Dermatology. Arlington Dermatology is a top-notch skin care center that deals with everything from vitiligo to acne treatment to skin cancer treatment. For more information, call 847-392-5440 today.

desperate man affected by vitiligo