Vitiligo causes the loss of natural skin color in about 1% of all people, often resulting in an immeasurable impact on your confidence and self-image. The experienced team at SkinMD offer several treatments that can effectively restore your skin color, including laser therapy with the cutting-edge XTRAC®. To learn more about your vitiligo treatment options, use the online booking tool or call one of the offices in Chicago, Evergreen Park, Orland Park, or Skokie, Illinois.
Vitiligo Q & A
What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that causes your skin to lose its natural color. It usually begins as a few small patches of lightened skin, but the condition gradually progresses.
Loss of skin pigment due to vitiligo can occur in all skin types and may develop anywhere on your body. It can even affect your hair and the inside of your mouth.
There are two types of vitiligo:
- Segmental Vitiligo: Segmental vitiligo occurs in about 10% of patients. In this type, the patches of depigmented skin are smaller and they stay on one side of your body.
- Nonsegmental or Generalized Vitiligo: In this type of vitiligo, loss of pigmentation may occur anywhere on your body, frequently on the face, neck, scalp, and mouth. You may also lose color in mucus membranes around your lips and mouth. Areas that experience rubbing, such as your hands and arms are also more likely to develop nonsegmental vitiligo.
The rate at which your vitiligo may worsen is impossible to predict. For some, it spreads gradually, while others experience rapid loss of skin pigmentation.
What Causes Vitiligo?
Vitiligo occurs when your immune system attacks melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment in your skin.
It’s estimated that 15-25% of people with vitiligo also have at least one other type of autoimmune disorder, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Autoimmune thyroid disease
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Pernicious anemia
- Addison’s disease
If you don’t have a co-occurring autoimmune disorder, then vitiligo doesn’t impact your physical health. However, its effect on appearance, emotional well-being, and ethnic identity are significant concerns for most patients.
How is Vitiligo Treated?
Vitiligo treatment focuses on restoring your skin color with a tailored plan that may begin with topical medications, such as corticosteroids and immunomodulators, that help inhibit immune cells.
The experts at SkinMD are also proud to offer phototherapy, another effective treatment for vitiligo using the cutting-edge XTRAC® excimer laser. This laser’s targeted beam of ultraviolet B light triggers repigmentation of vitiligo patches, gradually improving their pigmentation and evening out the color of your skin.
If your skin is extensively affected by vitiligo, the small areas that retain your natural skin color may be lightened to match the vitiligo patches.
If you suffer patchy loss of skin color, embarrassment, or emotional distress due to vitiligo, call SkinMD or book an appointment online.