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What Can I Do About My Vitiligo?

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin condition where the melanocytes—the cells that produce our natural skin color—are destroyed. Although the precise cause of vitiligo is unknown, there may be a hereditary component and the illness commonly affects members of the same family. There are a variety of other theories on the cause of vitiligo, including inherent defects in melanocyte cells, oxidative stress, and nervous system-mediated melanocyte destruction. The immune system is one of the more popular explanations. Rather than confronting harmful or cancerous cells, the immune system attacks itself and destroys melanocytes, producing an autoimmune reaction. For urgent care centers such as walk-in clinic Oakland Gardens, scheduling and starting treatment for a patient is not a problem.

Is Vitiligo Contagious?

Vitiligo is not an infection. It is not transferred to others by touching, coughing, through blood transfusions or any other type of contact. It is not an infection and therefore not contagious or infectious to others around affected individuals.

Does Vitiligo Spread?

There is no way to predict where the depigmentation of the skin cells will occur on the body. There are different forms of Vitiligo. Some with Vitiligo only experience the discoloration in specific parts of the body, mainly those in contact with the sun. But most patients experience pigmentation throughout different sections of the body, which is not as organized or contained.

Can I Treat Vitiligo?

There are good treatment options for those patients with Vitiligo, but currently there is no cure for the disorder. Many will start with a strategy to camouflage their condition. Certain cover ups and medical-grade foundations that match patients normal skin tone can be used to conceal the discolored skin.

Most start with some form of topical therapy. Corticosteroids and other immune modulators have shown good effectiveness in treating vitiligo. Phototherapy is another good option for patients that don’t respond to topical therapy. This uses a specific wavelength of UV light to stimulate pigment production in the skin. In unique situations, surgical treatments have been used to repopulate depigmented skin with healthy melanocytes and restore pigment to that area. Punch grafts, blister grafts and melanocytes transfer are the terms used to describe some of these surgical procedures.

In rare instances, typically with extensive disease or in situations where vitiligo is unresponsive to treatment, patient might decide to bleach the remaining pigment out of their skin to restore uniform pigment with a topical medication called Monobenzone.

Regardless, it is advised that all patients use sunscreen on their vitiligo skin. As there is no protective pigment in this area, vitiligo skin can burn easily in the sun, predisposing these areas to severe UV damage.

Is There Research Taking Place To Decipher the Cause of Vitiligo?

There are continuing efforts to better understand what causes Vitiligo. A lot of the research focuses on the genes that make the melanocytes susceptible to destruction, and ways to stop the clinical effects.  There is great hope that the cause will be found, especially regarding certain skin types that have a greater chance of possessing Vitiligo.

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Are you experiencing pigmentation issues? Please contact us so we can help you with your skin needs.