Somewhere between 0.5 percent and 2.0 percent of the worldwide population has vitiligo, an ailment that affects the pigmentation of the skin. With this condition, the cells responsible for the production of the skin’s pigment, called melanocytes, are destroyed. This result in white blemished patches and vitiligo treatment can take quite a while to work.
For some, vitiligo may occur on the face, neck or hands, resulting in the dramatic change in appearance. For others, it may occur on mucous membranes such as the mouth, nose, and genitals, as well as the retinas. If a patch appears on an area with hair growth, the hair will turn white or very light gray.
As this condition is not communicable nor is it contagious, vitiligo treatments work to reinstate the skin color. However, results are irregular and, according to vitiligo specialists, have serious side effects. Besides, it may take weeks, months or over a year to see results and judge the effectiveness of the chosen treatment. The most common treatments include:
Makeup and Dyes
These compounds conceal the discoloration temporarily. They are temporary and must be reapplied often. There are a few relatively new products that are waterproof and are designed specifically for vitiligo sufferers. One application may last as long as four or five days.
A vitiligo specialist may prescribe a corticosteroid cream soon after diagnosis, which is when it tends to work best. However, results are often not seen for several months or up to a year. A common side effect is thinning of the skin, and in some individuals, corticosteroid creams may cause streaks or lines that may become permanent.
Tacrolimus or Pimecrolimus Ointments
These ointments are a conventional vitiligo treatment commonly prescribed for individuals with small areas of depigmentation. While research indicates that they may cause fewer side effects than corticosteroid creams, the FDA warns that these drugs are possibly linked to lymphoma and skin cancer. Long-Term safety is just not known, and the FDA recommends the use of this drug only if no other medications are working.
Psoralen and Light Therapy
PUVA therapy was initially developed to treat psoriasis and is now often prescribed for treating vitiligo. The combination of oral medication in addition to exposure to UVA may help repigmentation of the white patches caused by vitiligo. Multiple sessions are necessary, and in some cases, treatments may be required three times a week for up to a year. As there is a relationship between UVA exposure and certain types of skin cancers, making an educated decision about this therapy is vital.
If the white patches are widespread, and other treatments have failed, a dermatologist may recommend depigmenting unaffected areas, lightening them to match or blend with the discolored areas. This vitiligo treatment is often done once or twice a day for nine months or longer, and the end result will be permanent. When considering this traditional treatment, it is essential to understand that permanent depigmentation may result in extreme sensitivity to sunlight.
Ayurveda has the potential to treat Vitiligo as the basic theory of Ayurveda is root cause removal treatment. The theory to treat disease from the roots makes this treatment unique and effective for the remedy of Vitiligo. Patients suffering from Vitiligo should consult an Ayurvedic Vitiligo Specialist for the same.