What is vitiligo and how can it be treated?

Vitiligo on the handsPatients who notice the loss of pigmentation on various areas of the skin may be dealing with a condition called vitiligo. At The Menkes Clinic in Mountain View, CA, we can provide not only a proper diagnosis, but discuss possible treatment options to consider.

Understanding vitiligo

Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that causes depigmentation of skin, though there is no cure. However, treatments can help with the symptoms. Vitiligo usually starts as one or more small spots on the face, hands, feet, arms, legs and inside the mouth. The white patches often increase in size over time and may spread to other parts of the body.

What can be done to treat vitiligo?

The cause is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the cells that produce melanin. There are several treatment options that can help to restore color to the affected area:

  • Topical corticosteroids can help to reduce inflammation and allow the body to produce new melanocytes
  • Excimer lasers can also be used to target melanocytes and stimulate their growth
  • In some extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to transplant healthy melanocytes from one area of the body to another

With treatment, it is possible to regain some of the lost skin color, but vitiligo is a lifelong condition that patients will deal with for the rest of their lives. By getting a proper understanding of the condition and what can be done to help keep the skin more even and consistent, patients can learn ways to manage the cosmetic aspect of vitiligo. Vitiligo does not harm the patient or does not lead to skin cancer or other serious medical problems. In most cases, the aesthetics of the condition are more bothersome to the patient.

How can I learn more about vitiligo?

If you believe you have vitiligo or have been recently diagnosed, talking with a professional at The Menkes Clinic is the first step towards finding a solution. Our doctors provide medical, surgical, pediatric, and cosmetic dermatology services for patients in and around the Mountain View, CA and are happy to offer services for new patients. Contact the office at 650-962-4600 today to request a consultation visit with our team.

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