Vitiligo and Treatment Options

By Dr. Kashish Kalra in Dermatology

Jun 25 , 2021 | 1 min read

Vitiligo or leucoderma or 'white spot' disease as it is commonly called, is a condition where there is autoimmune destruction of melanocytes ( pigment producing cells of skin) leading to decrease or absence of melanin in the skin which in turn causes characteristic white patches. Depending on the extent of involvement it could be of following types-

1. Vitiligo Focalis- one or two patches confined to a particular area

2. Segmental Vitiligo- patches confined to one dermatome or one part of body and never progresses to whole body

3. Acral Vitiligo- patches only on hands and feet

4. Vitiligo Vulgaris Universal Vitiligo- patches spreading to whole body

Treatment- Depending on the duration, extent, age of patient and type of presentation, treatment is planned and broadly categorized into three types:

1. Medicines- Oral and topical immunosuppressants like corticosteroids, tacrolimus, azathioprine etc are used to halt the progression of disease and reverse the changes.

2. Ultraviolet light therapy- NBUVB and UVA light and excimer lasers with or without medications are used to produce melanin.

3. Surgical intervention- procedures like grafting ( split thickness grafting, blister grafting, punch grafting), cultured or non cultured melanocyte transplantation, etc for non responsive patches but stable vitiligo( no progression of lesion for 2 years)

PROGNOSIS- like any other autoimmune disorder the results of treatment are Subjective and treatment has to be continued for long though nowadays with advent of lasers and new advancements in surgical intervention treatment is promising. It's very important to address the stigma attached to it as it is not at all a contagious disease but just a change in skin color. It is not related to particular diet or lifestyle. Many a times patients are in too much stress and in lieu of complete remission they fall into trap of quacks leading to deterioration of disease. Do visit a certified dermatologist if you notice such patch as VITILIGO IS TREATABLE!