Learn more about treatment options for vitiligo
Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin loses melanin, the pigment that determines color. The disease evolves slowly with enlarging white irregular patches on the skin. The most common areas affected by vitiligo are above the eyes and on the neck, armpits, elbows, genitalia, hands and knees.
What you should know about vitiligo
Vitiligo affects all races but predominantly affects people with darker skin. It usually starts in a small area and then begins to spread over time. The condition cannot be cured, but several newer technologies can slow the disease process and even return color to the skin. These include a group of drugs known as topical immunomodulators and they have been found to be successful in some individuals with this skin concern. Trade names for these drugs are Elidel and Protopic. In addition, phototherapy, including excimer lasers and lights, has been to successfully treat many with vitiligo. Several interesting clinical trials with grafting may have promise in the future.
Do's and Don'ts
- Avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
- Consult a doctor if you suspect you have vitiligo. Early treatment can help stem the spread of the disease.
- Attempt to treat vitiligo using home remedies, such as hemorrhoid creams.
Vitiligo questions to ask a dermatologic surgeon
(Download a Vitiligo Questionnaire to bring to your appointment)
- Which vitiligo procedure is the correct one for me? (What are the options?)
- What is the estimated cost of the procedure?
- How long is one appointment?
- How often will I need to receive treatment?
- How far apart are the treatments?
- What are the common side effects or complications associated with the procedure?
- How can I prepare for the treatment/procedure?
- Does the treatment hurt?
- What are my pain management and anesthesia options?
- How long is the recovery time associated with my procedure?
- Do you have before-and-after patient images to help to prepare me for what to expect?
- Will someone walk me through the process before going in for treatment?
- What are the risks?
- What should I expect after the procedure is performed? (i.e., short-term and long-term effects; activity restrictions; expected recovery period)
General questions to ask before vitiligo procedures
- Is a doctor on site?
- Is the doctor board-certified in dermatology or in another specialty with equivalent training and experience?
- Was my medical history taken?
- Was I given an initial evaluation to determine if the technique or procedure is appropriate for my skin type?
- Did the doctor show me before-and-after photos?