Outwitting the Prankster Vitiligo
It’s not contagious and it’s not painful – that is, if you overlook the disappointment and embarrassment it can cause. Experts don’t agree on where it comes from, nor exactly how to get rid of it. It seems to hang around unless and until it’s good and ready to go away. Sounds like a prankster, doesn’t it? Yet, the white patches of skin that signal vitiligo are no laughing matter to people who suffer from it.
Although it is not life-threatening, the effects vitiligo can have on a person’s sense of well-being can be serious, indeed. The fact that vitiligo is so unpredictable is part of the suffering. Sometimes the patches stop forming, even without treatment. In rare cases, the condition can seem just to disappear and the skin gets its color back. Usually, however, the white patches do spread, and eventually they may involve most of a person’s skin.
The first signs of vitiligo can appear at any age and to people of every ethnicity. Sometimes people are born with them. The white patches of vitiligo often spread, sometimes rapidly and sometimes over the course of months or years. Because its appearance comes from the loss of melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color, vitiligo can appear as premature loss of color in the hair or eyebrows, too.
Yet the anguish of helplessness does not have to come with vitiligo. Although the cause may be elusive, the ability to take steps that minimize it is within your grasp.
Bringing Light to the Issue
If your board-certified dermatologist finds that you suffer from vitiligo, he or she may try a number of treatments, including topical medications, to discover which will best combat your symptoms. One effective answer we have found to help many with vitiligo is a light treatment, called Xtrac . It can reduce the size and intensity of affected areas and improve the overall coloration of the skin.
Xtrac treatments take only about five minutes, and a series of six to 10 treatments are typically used to reduce the appearance of vitiligo. A precisely targeted, high dose of ultraviolet light is applied to the affected tissue through a handpiece that rests directly on the skin. Xtrac treatments warm and stimulate pigment production in the affected tissues with almost no heating or change to the surrounding skin, because the applicator is so specific.
Where to Find Expert Answers
Thankfully, the team at Dermatology Consultants can mitigate the effects of vitiligo, yet its causes are still the subject of research. Many who have studied vitiligo understand it to be a disorder of the body’s autoimmune system, in which cells called melanocytes, which normally stimulate production of melanin, are attacked. Family history is one risk factor for vitiligo. Sunburn, or exposure to industrial chemicals can be trigger events. Stress and other emotional conditions are frequently contributors to vitiligo’s onset or spread.
At Dermatology Consultants, our practice is devoted to helping people experience the best of the life they want to live. Through our professional achievement, training, and experience, you’ll find here a full array of options for achieving that, plus the understanding to guide you in deciding which ones are right for you. Just contact us to get started.