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Posts for tag: Vitiligo

By Mid Atlantic Dermatology & Laser Center
September 28, 2021
Category: Skin Conditions
Skin Pigmentation DisordersMelanin is a substance produced by skin cells known as melanocytes, which are responsible for giving our skin its color. When these cells are damaged or impacted in some way that they are unable to produce enough melanin, people often deal with skin pigmentation disorders. These disorders may impact just the face or the body, or they may impact everything as a whole. Here’s what you should know about skin pigmentation disorders and how a dermatologist can help.
 
Melasma

This condition causes dark brown patches to develop on the skin and is more common in women who are pregnant, as well as women who take birth control pills and/or spend time in the sun. You can often prevent melasma by simply wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun, especially if you take birth control pills. However, those with more moderate to severe brown spots may be prescribed hydroquinone or tretinoin creams, to lighten these patches.
 
Vitiligo

Instead of dark brown patches, vitiligo causes white patches to develop on the skin. As you might imagine, white patches of skin are very susceptible to sunburns, so you must protect your skin when outside. While this condition can’t be cured there are ways to improve the appearance of the skin through topical creams and medications, as well as light therapy. Your treatment options can be discussed further with your dermatologist.
 
Albinism

This rare disorder results in a lack of melanin in the hair, skin, and eyes. This is why albinos are often very pale with light blue eyes and white hair. There is no way to reverse or cure this disorder; however, it is incredibly important for someone with albinism to protect their skin and eyes from sun exposure by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses whenever they are outside.
 
Damage to Skin

In some cases, infections or burns can also cause a loss of melanin in certain areas of the face and body. While laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and other treatment options may improve the appearance, in these more minor cases, skin patches can be covered up with special cosmetics.
 
If you are dealing with skin pigmentation issues it’s always best to see a qualified dermatologist get the answers and specialized care you need to get this disorder under control.
By Mid Atlantic Dermatology & Laser Center
December 09, 2019
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Vitiligo  

Vitiligo is a skin condition that affects more than 200,000 men and women in the United States each year, with half of those affected noticing symptoms before age 20. Although the exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, it is thought to be an auto-immune condition. In fact, it often occurs in combination with other auto-immune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the condition is directly linked to hereditary causes in about one-third of cases.

When you have vitiligo, you will have patches of white skin, caused by loss of melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for skin color. It can start on the feet, hands, or face, and become progressive over other areas of the body. The condition can cause problems with your skin, eyes, inner ear, hairs, and mucous membranes, causing white blotches in these areas.

Vitiligo cannot be cured, however, your dermatologist can help treat its symptoms and minimize its impact on your life. Treatment for this condition generally aims to restore normal skin color by repigmenting the skin. New melanocytes may be transferred from other areas of the body, including the base of hair follicles, or the edge of the affected area. Repigmentation is a gradual process that can take months to years.

Other treatments for vitiligo include prescription steroid creams or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams, These creams are applied twice each day and begin to show results in three-to-six months.

Lasers are also an effective treatment to promote repigmentation of the skin. The Excimer laser is a common tool that uses ultraviolet B light. A series of laser sessions is required with touch-up maintenance sessions later on.

Vitiligo can also be treated with some cosmetics to create a more uniform skin color and hide white patches. Sunless tanning products can also help darken the white patches, creating a more harmonious skin color. For extensive areas of pigmentation loss, depigmentation therapy might be recommended to bleach out all pigmented skin, producing an even skin tone.

If you have been struggling with vitiligo, call your dermatologist today to learn about your treatment options!

By Mid Atlantic Dermatology & Laser Center
June 14, 2019
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Vitiligo  

Find out how this pigmented skin condition is treated.

Are you or someone you love dealing with vitiligo? The Mayo Clinic reports that there are more than 200,000 new cases of vitiligo each year in the US alone. Vitiligo is a chronic disease where the melanin, which gives your skin its pigment, either dies or the body stops producing it. As a result, there are white patches of skin all over the body. So, you may be wondering how this condition occurs or how you can treat it. This is when it’s important to turn to your dermatologist.

What causes vitiligo?

Unfortunately, researchers still do not know why some people develop vitiligo. It may be the result of an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks the melanocytes in the skin. Some researchers also believe that something as simple as a sunburn or even emotional stress could cause vitiligo; however, the cause is still unknown.

Who is at risk for developing vitiligo?

Even though this condition can appear at any time in a person’s life it more commonly occurs in your 20's. It affects both men and women of all races; however, vitiligo is more noticeable in those with darker skin. Those with autoimmune disorders are often more likely to develop vitiligo than those who do not have an autoimmune disorder. Genetics may also play a role; however, parents with vitiligo won’t necessarily pass this condition onto their child.

What are the symptoms of vitiligo?

Vitiligo is characterized by large white patches of skin, which may appear anywhere on the body. These patches most commonly appear on the face, hands, feet, arms, and other sun-exposed areas. Sometimes the white patches will spread over time. How quickly the patches spread will vary from person to person; however, sometimes the patches won’t spread at all.

How is vitiligo treated?

It’s important to turn to a dermatologist that you trust if you think you or a family member is dealing with vitiligo. During your consultation, your doctor will examine your skin to determine how widespread and numerous the patches are so that we have a better idea what type of treatment will be the most effective.

We will also go through your medical history and ask you questions about your condition. Treatment for vitiligo, like most skin disorders, will not work overnight. In fact, there is often a trial-and-error period to try and find the best treatment option.

The most common types of vitiligo treatment include medication, light therapies, and surgery, all of which are designed to restore pigmentation back into the skin.

Prescribed medications may be applied topically or taken orally. Certain UVA/UVB light therapy treatments may also improve your condition. Skin grafting surgery may be recommended, in which your dermatologist will remove skin from another area of the body and apply it over the patches to hide them and even out skin tone.

Your dermatologist can also recommend a full-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin when going outside, as well as any counseling and support you may need. If you or someone you love is looking for vitiligo treatment, contact your dermatologist today.