Vitiligo is a disorder of the skin that mainly involves the loss of its pigment. This then manifests as light macules that stretching out over different areas of the skin and hair. Usually beginning around the face and the areas between the fingers, the destruction of the melanocytes causes white patches on the skin, resulting in destruction of the cosmetic aesthetic.
There is no single definite cause for the disorder, with the etiology being strewn across different disciplines.
- Genetic origins
- Faulty biochemical processes
With all these theories floating around, it is no wonder, therefore, that some believe that vitiligo is the phenotypic expression of a number of different conditions with various origins.
Types of Vitiligo
Though vitiligo patients may present with a similar appearance, there are various differences. This means there are different kinds of vitiligo, including:
- Non segmental vitiligo offers the common vitiligo where the white macules with clear boundaries are symmetrically distributed around the various parts.
- Segmental vitiligo is the kind that where the light macules do not span across the midline of the body.
Each of these kinds of vitiligo have different other vitiligoid conditions beneath them, adhering to the characteristics of each group.
- Topicals: The first line treatment for this skin disorder is usually a topical cream. These creams are applied on the affected areas so that there can be repigmentation of the skin. Apart from the creams, systemic medication can be administered in a bid to get to the underlying cause.
- Systemic: These systemic medications are especially useful in rapidly progressing conditions where stabilization is paramount. These corticosteroids are aimed at halting the development of the macules. Sometimes the systemic corticosteroids are used in combination with the topical creams to achieve a much better effect.
- UV Therapy: One of the most used treatments is ultraviolet light therapy. This is because UV light possesses cellular immunosuppressive properties that can halt destruction of melanocytes. The UV light also has the power to promote melanogenesis; the proliferation of the melanocytes, returning pigment to the skin. This therapy can also be combined with the topical creams to have a more effective outcome.
- LASER: The use of lasers has also taken a foothold in the treatment of vitiligo. Erbium laser assisted dermabrasion has been used in conjunction with topical steroids to some great results. Carbon dioxide fractional lasers have also been used following their success in tissue rejuvenation and scar remodelling.
- Micropigmentation: Specialised pigment is matched to the patients skin tone and implanted at the epi-dermal junction forming a tattoo of camouflage for hypopigmented lesions to blend with the surrounding skin. Care must be made to work within the margins of the hypopigmented area as increasing trauma to normal tissue may initiate depigmentation.
- Camouflage: For the daily camouflage of vitiligo, MicroskinTM offers a lightweight and long lasting coverage that is matched exactly to the skin tone and can be applied by the individual daily or for special occasions.
And for a beautiful celebration of those living with vitiligo check out Living Dappled on Instagram.
Vitiligo. (2018). [image] Available at: http://imgarcade.com/vitiligo-full-body.html [Accessed 14 Mar. 2018].
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