How to treat vitiligo?

Myths, reality and different views

Less than one percent of earth’s population falls victim to this hideous dermal disease – vitiligo. But let’s look at the fact – 1% of 7 000 000 000 people is 70 000 000! That’s like a population of an entire country. Anyway, the disease is not life-endangering, but non-pigmented skin looks horrible!

It is now known that you have a chance of vitiligo if a blood-related person had/has it. There’s also a theory, that some nervous system illnesses can cause this skin disease as well.

In the medieval times vitiligo would mean curtains for a person. It wasn’t considered an illness at all – people thought the devil himself had something to do with it, or at least black sorcery or witchery. As your logic may have already suggested, such people were tortured and executed by the Inquisition, or just the angry crowd, thinking that the person with diseased skin was the key to all their problems. Well, believe not or not, but we’re still susceptible to superstitions like those…

Vitiligo can’t be treated?!

That was the main point of view for centuries and still some people believe it, though it’s false. There’s more than one treatment for this skin disease now and they’re all well-known to work successfully for at least 75-80%, though some considered quite dangerous.

So, how is vitiligo treated today?

1. The most common way to get rid of this terrible illness is UVB treatment, conducted with the help of UVB lamps.

PROS: Narrow band UVB light therapy method is quite effective, and it takes from few weeks to several months the see the first results, this time may vary depending on the size of damaged area. Besides, one can apply this kind of treatment at home, having bought quite an affordable UVB device.
CONS: UV rays are dangerous for the skin in case of long exposure. If done improperly, phototherapy may cause even worse consequences than vitiligo itself. Of course, we’re talking about melanoma – skin cancer. But this is only possible if you don’t follow the regulations of the treatment.

2. Adding a drug called psoralen to the basic ultraviolet phototherapy is called PUVA treatment.

PROS: Makes UVA (A ultraviolet rays) treatment much more effective, but raising the skin sensitivity to this kind of light.
CONS: Can only be conducted in a hospital or other medical institution because of slight complexity. Such a way of treatment needs an accurately maintained dosage of both – UVA light and psoralen. If one exceeds the norms, the skin would become too sensitive and will be “sunburnt” or freckled. This works the other way round – if the dosage is below the standard, the efficiency of the treatment will be totally compromised.

There’s another disadvantage, though. PUVA phototherapy shouldn’t be applied too often, that’s why it usually takes up to one year of treatment to make any visible effect.

3. Melanocyte transplantation.

PROS: Completely effective.
CONS: Can only be applied in a specialized hospital and is extremely expensive. No one can tell exactly how much time it will take. More information about this treatment method you can find here: https://uvb-lamps.com/blog/surgical-methods-of-vitiligo-treatment/.
4. Laser treatment. Well, what don’t they cure with particular lasers today?

PROS: Effective and fast.
CONS: Hospital therapy, which can only be used on small areas of depigmentation. This is a choice for people who have minute cases of vitiligo.

Home treatment – a good choice

It is well known that not everyone has the time for long-term hospital treatment, especially knowing that it won’t give a 100% result. That’s exactly why home-treatment of vitiligo using UVB lamps is really popular today. Portable professional UVA and UVB lamps are sold worldwide, along with personal treatment schedules.

Anyone can just sit at home, watch TV and at the same time, cure themselves of this terrible disease. The devices are usually made with fail-safe systems, preventing their users to exceed the exposure of skin to UV light.

Vitiligo research has quite a large budget today, so in a few years we may truly have a 100% cure from this illness.

Posted: July 24, 2013 by Patrick Lowe 256
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