Vitiligo is an example of hypopigmentation. Vitiligo is characterized by smooth, white patches on the skin that can affect the whole body or localized areas such as the arms or face. White patches can also form on the inside of the mouth and in the hair and the skin.

Vitiligo is frequently misdiagnosed as an autoimmune disease. When the immune system targets the body’s own tissues and organs, autoimmune diseases arise. Vitiligo patients’ immune systems appear to target the skin’s pigment cells (melanocytes).

Vitiligo has no effect on overall health or physical function in the absence of other autoimmune diseases. However, for many afflicted persons, worries about appearance and ethnic identity are paramount.

Vitiligo Diagnosis

During a physical exam, your Buckeye doctor can diagnose vitiligo by examining your skin. Other tests may be performed, such as blood testing and skin biopsy, in which a sample of your skin is submitted to a laboratory for additional analysis. The doctor may also use a Wood’s lamp to examine your skin under UV light.

Vitiligo Treatment

Vitiligo can’t be prevented or cured, as far as we know. However, at Buckeye Dermatology, we can improve the appearance of your afflicted skin. The optimal therapy for you will depend on your age, how much your skin needs to improve, and how much your vitiligo affects you.

Treatments include: 

  • Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is a process that includes carefully exposing your skin to low amounts of ultraviolet radiation. It is suggested for large regions affected by vitiligo.
  • Laser treatment is for smaller areas of vitiligo, notably those on the face.
  • Use of steroid creams and ointments to aid in suppressing the immune system.
  • Surgical therapies include skin grafting, which consists of transplanting pigmented skin from a donor into areas afflicted by vitiligo.
  • Depigmentation, or bleaching, is a long-lasting treatment conducted when the whole body is afflicted with vitiligo.

Although vitiligo is not infectious or fatal, it might result in poor self-esteem.

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