Vitiligo is a condition in which patches of skin lose colour. With time, the discoloured spots normally grow larger. The illness can affect any portion of the body's skin. Hair and the interior of the mouth can also be affected.
Melanin is responsible for the colour of hair and skin in most cases. When cells that create melanin die or cease working, vitiligo develops. Vitiligo affects people of all skin kinds, however, it is more visible in those who have darker skin. It is not a life-threatening or communicable disorder.
However, it might be stressful and make you feel self-conscious. Vitiligo treatment may help to restore colour to the damaged skin. However, it does not prevent further skin colour loss or a recurrence.
Symptoms of Vitiligo
The signs of vitiligo mainly are:
- Loss of skin colour in patches. It initially begins appearing on hands, face and areas around body openings and genitals.
- Premature whiting or greying of scalp, hair, eyebrows, eyelashes or beard.
- Loss of colour in tissues presents inside the mouth and nose.
Vitiligo appears at literally any age, but it is commonly seen after the age of 30. Depending on the type of vitiligo, it could have the following effects:
- Almost all skin surfaces: It is called as universal vitiligo, it affects the entire skin surface of the body.
- Various parts of the body: It is the most common type. It is called as generalized vitiligo, the discoloured patches often progress similarly on corresponding body parts.
- On one side of the body: It is called segmental vitiligo. It occurs at a younger age, elevates for a year or two and then halts.
- On a few areas of the body: It is called localised vitiligo. This affects only some parts of the entire body.
- Face and hands: It is called acrofacial vitiligo, the affected skin is on the face and hands, and around body openings, such as the eyes, nose and ears.
Causes of Vitiligo
When pigment-producing cells also called melanocytes die or cease producing melanin, the pigment that gives your skin, hair, and eyes colour, vitiligo develops. The affected skin patches lighten or turn white. However, Unfortunately, what causes these pigment cells to fail or die is unknown.
It could be linked to:
- A problem with the immune system is called the autoimmune condition.
- History of the family or heredity.
- Stress, severe sunburn, or skin trauma, such as contact with a chemical which are examples of trigger events.
Problems associated with vitiligo:
Even though vitiligo is a skin problem, it could accompany various serious health issues such as:
- Macules are more sensitive to sunlight than the rest of the skin because they lack melanocytes, therefore they will burn rather than tan.
- Vitiligo patients may have anomalies in their retinas, the inner layer of the eye that contains the light-sensitive cells, as well as the colour part of the eye called the iris. Inflammation of the retina or iris may occur in some circumstances, but vision is normally unaffected.
- Other autoimmune disorders in which the body's immune system leads it to attack itself, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, pernicious anaemia, Addison's disease, and alopecia areata may be more common in people with vitiligo. Vitiligo is also more common in patients who have autoimmune illnesses.
- Vitiligo patients may be self-conscious or nervous about their skin. People might be nasty at times, staring or saying hurtful things. A person with vitiligo may acquire low self-esteem as a result of this. This, in turn, could lead to anxiety or despair, as well as a desire to withdraw. If this occurs, you should seek aid from your healthcare practitioner, as well as your family and friends.
How to Treat Vitiligo?
Vitiligo has no known cure. The purpose of medical treatment is to achieve a uniform skin tone by either depigmenting or removing the existing pigment which is called as depigmentation. Camouflage therapy, repigmentation therapy, light therapy, and surgery are all common treatments. Counselling may be suggested as well.
- Use sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. In addition, the sunscreen should protect against ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays (UVB and UVA). Sunscreen reduces tanning and hence reduces the contrast between afflicted and normal skin.
- Depigmented regions can be camouflaged with makeup.
- If your hair is affected by vitiligo, you can use hair dyes.
- If the illness is severe, depigmentation therapy with the medication monobenzone may be utilised. This medicine is used to lighten pigmented spots of skin such that they match the vitiligo areas.
- Narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) requires two to three treatment sessions each week which are carried out for several months.
- Excimer lasers produce ultraviolet light with a wavelength that is similar to narrow-band UVB. Because it is administered to small, targeted locations, it is better for people who do not have broad or big lesions.
- To treat broad patches of skin with vitiligo, a combination of oral psoralen and UVA (PUVA) is employed. For those with vitiligo in the head, neck, torso, upper arms, and legs, this treatment is believed to be particularly helpful.
- Taken Orally as a tablet or used topically as a cream, corticosteroids are used to treat a variety of conditions. It could take up to three months for the results to appear. If used for an extended period of time, the doctor will monitor the patient for any side effects, which may include skin thinning or striae also called stretch marks.
- Vitamin D analogues that can be applied to the skin.
- Calcineurin inhibitors, for example, are topical immunomodulators.
- Skin grafts taken from one portion of the patient and used to cover another part are known as autologous (from the patient) skin grafts. Scarring, infection, or a failure to pigment are all possible side effects. This is also known as micrografting.
- Micropigmentation is a type of tattooing that is commonly used on the lips of vitiligo patients.
So, the question still remains, can you cure vitiligo in a month? No. Unfortunately, vitiligo does not have any cure. Vitiligo cannot be cured, treatments only even out the skin tone of the affected areas. They do not prevent the further spread of the issue. However, these treatments could take a little while too, probably more than a month sometimes.