Vitiligo

It is a skin disorder that causes depigmentation on the skin and mucosa. The population incidence worldwide is considered to be 1-2 percent.

The disease generally occurs in early years of life (between the ages of 10 and 30).

Vitiligo mostly causes face, hands and genital involvement. The course of the disease varies between people. It spreads rapidly in some cases while in some others it remains in the same form for long years. The disease is exacerbated with further distress, diseases and traumas.

Vitiligo occurs due to malfunction of melanocytes, causing white-patch appearance on the area of disease. The cause of the disease not yet fully understood although there are certain theories.

Genetic predisposition is common in vitiligo patients in whose families vitiligo cases are observed to be 30 percent more frequent. It is also considered that changes in the immune system may cause the disease. Environmental factors, distress and trauma accelerate the course of the disease.

Vitiligo disease should be essentially diagnosed by a speciality. Due to similar appearance in other skin disorders, if there is doubt, “wood’s glass examination” or even skin biopsy should be applied for precise diagnosis.

Vitiligo poses physical, mental and social problems for the patients. White patches, particularly in visible areas of the body, cause further distress to affect the social lives of patients, and even psychological problems.

These conditions should be taken into consideration to inform patients and provide the necessary psychological support. Certain diseases likely to accompany vitiligo (diabetics, hormonal disorders, anaemia, immune disorders) should be examined, and eye examinations should be performed (suspecting vitiligo-related disturbance in the eyes of some patients), and blood tests should be requested. Patients should be informed on the issues requiring attention.

Different ways of treatment may result in different consequences in various levels of vitiligo. It is, therefore, essential to find out the level of the disease so as to plan the treatment accordingly. It should be accepted that vitiligo treatment is a long-term process and patients should not be allowed to desperation.

Simply, concealer cosmetics may be used to cover the difference in skin colouring temporarily. Permanent makeup application is another option. Although it yields longer-term results, unsuccessful applications, however, may cause further problems.

Treatment includes local and systemic drug utilization. All these treatments need to be conducted under doctor control; otherwise, serious problems may occur due to the treatment.

Laser Treatment
Latest developments in laser technologies bear another light of hope for vitiligo patients. Only diseased areas of skin can be applied phototherapy involving certain ultraviolet wavelengths. Damaged melanocytes in this area are stimulated for recovery. The application lasts for a short of time, but requires repetitive sessions. It is a pain-free application with no further disturbance other than mild rash on the skin. Patients receiving laser treatment can follow normal pattern of their lives, and treatment is applied for 2-3 sessions weekly. It responds to treatment after 10 sessions.

Other whitening treatments
This method is used in people with widespread vitiligo. Healthy areas of skin are whitened so as to remove the difference of colour on the skin.

Surgical treatments
It is based on the principle of installing pigment tissues under problematic areas of skin.

Sun protection
Vitiligo patients are more sensitive to the harmful effects of sun. Further, sunburns may lead to new vitiligo areas. It is, therefore, essential in treatment to apply safe sun protection.

Articles in our website are for information purposes. Any health problems should be diagnosed and treated by the doctor.

Articles in our website are for information purposes. Any health problems should be diagnosed and treated by the doctor.