Living your life with vitiligo is not that easy, especially if you are concerned about your appearance. Vitiligo does not cause any complication. But the altered cosmetic appearance can cause you a lot of stress and can lower your confidence levels. Fortunately you can take treatment for vitiligo from your dermatologist.
If you see any white patch anywhere over the skin, it is important to visit a dermatologist who can rightly diagnose vitiligo. Other diseases like leprosy, leucoderma needs to be ruled out. Only after proper diagnosis of vitiligo, you can start with vitiligo treatment. Early diagnosis is important for vitiligo treatment as involvement of more than 50% of body area means the chances of complete repigmentation are poor.
Topical steroids like clobetasol or betamethasone dipropionate is used for localised and unstable vitiligo of short duration. The progress of rapidly spreading, unstable and widespread vitiligo is arrested by administration of systemic steroids. Its use has some side effects. So do not forget to ask your dermatologist about it and try to avoid the side effects. Multiple patches with more than 20% body area involvement which are stable are treated with ultraviolet therapy.
For localised and stable white patches of vitiligo, topical psoralen with ultra violet A (PUVA) therapy is effective. Psoralen are used topically or administered orally. Psoralens make the skin sensitive to UV rays, thus stimulate melanocyte function and help in their regeneration. It is important to note that PUVA therapy is contraindicated in pregnant women and young children and in individuals with liver and kidney disease.
When topical PUVA therapy is used, the solution of psoralen should be used over the affected skin only. After 20-30 minutes of application, the affected skin is then exposed to UV exposure. Sun is the cheapest source of UVA. Consult a dermatologist to know the exact time for which the skin should be exposed to the sun. Long duration of exposure can lead to sunburn which cannot be corrected later.
Oral ingestion of psoralen drugs should be followed with 2 hours of UV exposure. This is called as systemic PUVA therapy. Eyes should be protected with sunglasses. Topical or systemic PUVA therapy should be started only after consultation with a dermatologist. Regular follow up with a dermatologist and following his advice is necessary to cure vitiligo.