Leukoderma Treatment

Leukoderma Treatment

Leucoderma or Vitiligois a chronic skin disorder characterized by the loss of melanin (the pigment responsible for giving color to the skin, hair, and eyes). This loss of pigment results in the development of white patches on the skin, which are referred to as leucoderma or vitiligo patches.

Leucoderma though not contagious, can affect any part of the body, including the scalp, face, and genitals and spreads all over the body. The severity of the condition and the speed of the spread of this condition varies from person to person. As mentioned earlier, there is no predefined nature of the spread, some cases it may remain localized to a specific area, while in other cases, it may spread aggressively to larger areas of the body.

Leucoderma is not a life-threatening disorder, it is more cosmetic and affects the appearance of a person and has huge psychological and emotional impact on the person. It affects the quality of life, self-esteem, confidence of the person.

Causes of Leucoderma

It is to be noted that the exact cause of leucoderma is unknown as yet, but there are speculations about the triggers such as combination of genetics, stress, environmental and autoimmune factors.

Leucoderma Types

Leucoderma based on its spread and severity is segregated in to these below mentioned types. Let us have a quick look at these.

  • Generalized: The generalized type is the most common form of leucoderma. It causes macules on various parts of the body.
  • Universal: This type of leucoderma is rare. The universal leucoderma causes almost 80% of the skin to not have pigment.
  • Focal: This is a rare type of macule developing in a smaller area.
  • Segmental: In this type only one side of the body or any one area is affected, it could be either one of the hands or legs, face, etc.
  • Trichome: In this type, there is a bullseye pattern which appears as a white or a colorless center, with an area of light pigmentation, and then an area of natural skin tone.
  • Mucosal: Mucosal leucoderma as the name suggests affects mucous membranes of the mouth and/or genitals.

Leucoderma Treatment

There are a wide variety of options available for the treatment of leucoderma. These treatment options are aimed at improving the appearance of the skin. Based on the right diagnosis of the type and extent of leucoderma, the dermatologist will take the right approach for leucoderma treatment.

Due to leucoderma per se not being a lethal disorder, there is no requirement for any type or mode of treatment. Leucoderma is a harmless skin condition, which affects the appearanceof an individual which in turn can affect the emotional wellbeing of the person.The need of treatment arises when it is widely spread or spreading aggressively and is visible and in turn is affecting the person’s overall appearance and esteem. Below mentioned are some of the common treatment options for leucoderma.

1. Light therapy

Light therapy also popularly known as phototherapy is generally the first line of treatment for leucoderma. It helps in regaining the skin color. Depending on the case, several light therapy sessions would be required to get the desired result. Medical provider will use UVB lights, light boxes, medical-grade lasers, UV Comb - UV311, etc. These are directed at the skin for short intervals of time. It can take several light therapy sessions to see results on your skin.

Combining the oral psoralen medicine with the (PUVA) ultraviolet is helpful in treating the large areas of skin affected by leucoderma/vitiligo as well as the (NBUVB) narrowband UV-B therapy. This treatment is useful for those persons who have leucoderma on their face, neck, head, upper arms, trunk, and legs.

2. Medications

There have been no medications as of now to stop leucoderma from affecting the skin, but there certainly are medications that can help in melanocytes regrowth, reduce the speed of loss of pigmentation, repigment the natural color to the skin. Some of the commonly used medicines in leucoderma treatment are

  • Topical Janus kinase inhibitors (ruxolitinib).
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Calcineurin inhibitors.
3. Depigmentation therapy

Depigmentation therapy as the name implies it depigments the skin. This therapy helps remove the natural skin tone colour to match those areas of the skin affected by leucoderma. The drug monobenzone is used in this therapy. This medication is evenly applied to the pigmented patches of the skin, which helps in turning the skin white to match the leucoderma affected areas of the skin.

4. Counselling

Leucoderma affects the skin affecting the appearance of the person. Most often these persons diagnosed with leucoderma find counselling very helpful. Some even find it beneficial in visiting a mental health professional who can help inreducing and improving the anxiety, self-esteem, depression issues in people with leucoderma. It causes more of mental illness than any harm physically. Wide spread visible leucoderma causes psychological distress, lack of confidence, and affects the person’s social interactions as well as outlook. In these cases, counselling plays a major role in helping the person in coping with this disorder.

5. Surgery

As already mentioned, leucoderma is not a serious physical condition, it is more of cosmetic and hence surgery is a last resort of the treatment options for people with leucoderma. Surgery is certainly not the first option for leucoderma treatment. There are options available in this and it could include:

  • Skin grafts : This procedure is also called as mini grafting. A section of skin is taken from a part of the body to cover the leucoderma affected area. These also have complications such as infection, scarring, or even failure to pigment.
  • Blister grafting: Blister grafting is grafting which uses the suction method to create blister on the skin and then the top of that blister is removed and attached to the leucoderma affected area.

Leucoderma is not a serious disorder or health condition, nonetheless, depending on the severity of the case any of the above mentioned leucoderma treatments can be utilized. As there is no certainty of the causes of leucoderma, we can only try to reduce the leucoderma risk by practising safe sun exposure, avoiding stress, avoiding injury, practising good skin care, managing any underlying autoimmune conditions. Leucoderma cannot be totally prevented but certainly managed and treated to ensure a better quality of life.

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