Understanding Your Treatment Options for Vitiligo

Given how important your skin is to your everyday appearance, it’s no surprise that a skin condition like vitiligo can mar your appearance — and undermine your self-confidence and your social life. The whitish patches that are a hallmark of vitiligo, especially when they appear on your face and hands, can be very distressing.

An estimated 2 million-5 million Americans have vitiligo, which can affect people of all races. Vitiligo usually develops before people reach 40 years of age. At Skin MD, which has offices in Orland Park, Skokie, Chicago, and Evergreen Park, Illinois, our team of highly experienced dermatologists is available to treat your skin conditions. Dr. Kenneth Bielinski, Dr. John Keane, and Dr. Artem Sergeyenko provide you with the latest treatment options for vitiligo. 

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that causes loss of skin color. It typically starts as a few small patches of skin, but it continues to spread over time. Vitiligo can affect the color of your hair and even change the skin color inside your mouth. It is caused by your immune system attacking the cells that are responsible for producing the color in your skin.

In about 15-25% of cases, vitiligo is accompanied by one or more types of autoimmune disorders. These include psoriasis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Although by itself vitiligo doesn’t harm your physical health, it can definitely affect your confidence, ethnic identity, and emotions. 

Treatment options for vitiligo

A number of treatment options can address the underlying disorder that is causing the vitiligo, as well as restore your skin pigmentation. After getting to know you, our staff determines which treatments would be most helpful for you. 

Topical medications

Topical medications can be used to suppress the immune cells that are attacking the melanocytes that give your skin its color. These treatments include corticosteroids and immunomodulators that target the immune cells. 

Phototherapy

One highly effective treatment that directly addresses the depigmented skin includes phototherapy. This treatment is completed using the high-tech XTRAC® excimer laser. Through a highly concentrated beam of light, this tool prompts your skin to bring back your skin’s color, improving your skin tone.

Skin lightening

If vitiligo has affected large areas of your skin, another option is skin lightening, or depigmentation. This is used to lighten the areas of your skin that have not already been affected, allowing them to match your vitiligo-affected areas. A solution is applied to your skin once or twice a day over a period of nine months or longer. 

Although vitiligo is not deadly or contagious, it can cause intense social and emotional distress. Many treatments can address your vitiligo symptoms and lessen the psychological impact of this condition, so let us help!

To set up an appointment at one of our four Skin MD locations, call the office nearest you, or use our online booking tool to request an appointment today! You can also send us a message using the contact form here on our website. 

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