Vitiligo (pronounced vit-il-EYE-go) is a skin pigmentation condition that causes patches of skin to become lighter on various areas of the body. The cause of vitiligo is still unknown, but it is believed to be associated with an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks your healthy melanocytes (cells that produce pigment). It can also be due to trauma or family history.
The light-colored patches of skin can spread on several areas of your body, stay the same for a while, and possibly later get bigger. The good news is that vitiligo can be successfully treated. Let’s talk about the main types of vitiligo, some of the most effective treatment options, and where you can go in South Miami and throughout South Florida for outstanding dermatology for the whole family.
Are There Different Types of Vitiligo?
There are two main types of vitiligo, and they present differently on the body:
This is the most common type. People who have generalized vitiligo usually develop symmetrical areas of skin depigmentation, such as on both hands or feet. The lighter color tends to expand and cover a larger area over time.
Segmental vitiligo occurs at an early age, and unlike generalized vitiligo, segmental vitiligo usually affects just one side of the body. People also experience some hair color loss in the hair of their head, eyelashes, and/or eyebrows.
How Is It Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of vitiligo generally is made on a clinical basis according to your medical history, signs, and symptoms. A biopsy may be needed and sent for further tests. A blood test may also be warranted to check for thyroid or immune issues.
What Can a Dermatologist Do for Vitiligo?
Once vitiligo is diagnosed, you and your dermatologist can discuss the various treatment options that would work for you. There is no cure for vitiligo, so the goal is to restore lost skin color or to even out your skin tone. The best treatments for you will depend on your health status, age, and preferences.
Topical and Oral Medications
Topical medication is usually the first prescribed option for treating vitiligo. The most frequently prescribed topical option is a special corticosteroid.
Other medications may be added to your treatment plan to have a synergistic effect. Oral steroid medication is needed in fast-spreading cases.
Skin pigment can be restored by using different types of ultraviolet (UV) light. This method requires a time commitment, as patients need at least three treatments per week for several weeks – but many patients have reported effective and satisfying results after following this method.
This is another type of phototherapy that produces ultraviolet radiation at specific wavelengths, promoting skin re-pigmentation. It also requires a series of sessions over several months.
If most of the skin on your body has already lost pigment from vitiligo, then your dermatologist may recommend actually depigmenting the small sections of skin that weren’t affected by the condition. This will smooth out your skin tone.
Experienced Dermatologist in Coral Gables and Miami
Our highly experienced family dermatologists at Children’s Skin Center Pediatric and Adult Dermatology will provide you with the appropriate treatment options for vitiligo, acne, rosacea, sunburn, and other skin issues. We have two main offices in Miami and Coral Gables, and we also have locations across South Florida.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling our friendly staff at (305) 669-6555 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you love your skin!