1.What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a common skin condition in which the skin loses its normal color to become white.It presents as white patches, which could involve any body area.
2.How does it occur?
PSkin color is determined by color producing cells called melanocytes. They produce melanin, which gives brown to black color of the skin. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin condition, where the skin defense cells mistakingly attack melanocytes causing color loss at various areas. The risk of getting vitiligo increases if a person has:An autoimmune disease, especially Hashimoto’s disease (a thyroid disease) or alopecia areata (causes hair loss)
3.Should you be worried if you or any family member develops vitiligo?
Vitiligo is just a cosmetic color change of the skin.It is not caused by or doesn’t lead to any internal problems or disturbance. It is not contagious, not passed on in family or in genes.So it should be treated like any other color change of the skin, like marks or dark patches.
4.Is vitiligo curable?
It is an unpredictable, chronic disease lasting for years with periods of activity & inactivity. In some, one or few white patches appear & new patches never appear again. In a few patients, the color loss can spread rapidly and involve major body surface area within a short period of time. In some regimentation can appear in 30-50% of the patches without any treatment. .
5. What are the symptoms?
Patches of vitiligo can be completely asymptomatic.It can appear over Skin, scalp(& hair),lips, Genitals etc Many people do not have any signs or symptoms. They feel completely healthy
6.What can worsen vitiligo?
Food contrary to popular belief doesn’t have any relation to vitiligo. Fish,citrus fruits, milk & dairy products DON’T worsen vitiligo. However,vitiligo can worsen due to emotional stress, injury & scratching of the skin, damage due to oxidants like in smokers, recreational drug users
7. What are the Areas resistant to treatment?
Areas with no or minimal hair like Lips,Genitals, fingertips, toe, palms or soles Bony areas like shin, elbows, knees Also areas where the hair have turned white.
8. What are the treatment options?
Even though there is no single medicine to cure vitiligo, there are various modalities of treatment available to control vitiligo.
Treatment options include restoring color to the white patches and preventing onset of new patches. For single or few patches: Topical creams, lotions like Pimecrolimus, Tacrolimus are sufficient. Few multiple patches: Oral treatment with steroids, Azathioprine, methotrexate can be given. Phototherapy using Narrow Band UVB, UVA or Targeted Phototherapy can be used for restoration of color and can also help in preventing the progression of disease.
If the usual treatment fails, &, vitiligo is stable (that is no new patches appearing for the last one year), then skin grafting or micro pigmentation tattooing will cover the vitiligo patches. Split skin grafting or mini punch grafting will cover small to large patches & give good cosmetic results. Melanocyte culture graft, keratinocyte-melanocyte culture graft, keratinocyte-melanocyte suspension are the other new surgical treatment available for stable vitiligo.
Can be used to cover small patches while the treatment takes effect.
Tips to manage vitiligo:
• Avoid sunlight as loss of color makes you prone to sun burns, blisters and excess sun damage • Use sunscreen regularly • Take well balanced diet & nutritious food • Take care of your mental health as well. • Avoid injury to the skin Most importantly, DON’T LET VITILIGO BECOME YOUR IDENTITY.