Treatment for white patches on skin

Treatment for white patches on skin

Vitiligo and it's Types

Leucoderma or Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder caused due to the loss of melanin. Melanin is 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 is referred to as leucoderma or vitiligo patches.

Leucoderma is not a contagious disorder. It does not spread by physical contact. Vitiligo may affect any part of the body, including the scalp, face, and genitals. This may stay limited to a single place for a very long time or spread rapidly all over the body. Most often it starts as a small macule. The pattern of spread and the speed of spread can be different from one person to the other. In some cases, it remains localized to one specific area, while in other cases, it spreads aggressively all over the body.

Vitiligo is a harmless skin disorder. It affects the skin tone, making it appear very different from those not affected by it. It affects the external appearance of a person and can have huge psychological and emotional impact on the person. It affects the quality of life, self-esteem, confidence of the person.

Vitiligo 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 vitiligo. It causes macules on various parts of the body.
  • Universal: This type of vitiligo is rare. The universal vitiligo 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 vitiligo as the name suggests affects mucous membranes of the mouth and/or genitals.

Leucoderma and it's Causes

There is no exact cause of leucoderma that can be claimed of. Never the less, there are a few known triggers such as combination of genetics, stress, environmental and autoimmune factors.

Leucoderma Treatment

Due to the benign nature of vitiligo, any form of treatment is not required, but if the spread is very visible and cannot be camouflaged through clothing or application of creams or makeup and is affecting the person psychologically and emotionally, it is best to reach out to treatment.

There is variety of treatment options available and these are aimed at improving the appearance of the skin. Based on the right diagnosis of the type and extent of leucoderma, the dermatologist would advise the best form of treatment. The treatment for white patches on skin includes the below mentioned treatment options which are used commonly for treating vitiligo.

1. Light therapy

Light therapy also popularly known as phototherapy is generally the first line of treatment for leucoderma. It is one of the forefront treatments for white patches on skin. 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 (UV-311), Portable UV Therapy Units, hand and foot unit and whole-body phototherapy units, etc.These are directed at the skin for short intervals of time. It can take several light therapy sessions to show the desired results on the 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. These medicines help in the treatment for white patches on 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 to match the leucoderma affected areas of the skin. This is also one of the sought-out treatment for white patches on skin.

4. Surgery

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

  • Skin grafts : This procedure is also called as mini grafting. A section of the 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 life-threatening disorder and hence does not call for treatments in most cases. Nonetheless, for those affected with severe or very visible vitiligo which is troubling them, then any of the above-mentioned treatment optionsmay be used for the treatment of white patches on skin.

With advancement in the field of medicine and healthcare, there is a variety of options available for managing vitiligo efficiently. It could be in the form of advanced medical tools and equipments, creams and ointments, oral medicines, etc. There are many reliable, reputed brands in the market providing the best in terms of vitiligo treatment. Some of these could be identified as Glenmark, C Cube, Biocon.

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