Vitiligo is a common, non-catching skin condition which causes a loss of pigmentation in patches of the skin. It affects around 1% of the population andcan develop at any age, often causing distress to sufferers because of its unusual appearance. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning.The extent and rate of colour loss is unpredictable, and it can occur on any part of the body. Sometimes it also affects the eyes, hair and the inside of the mouth.
Until recently, vitiligo patients have had few effective treatment options available to them, with cosmetic camouflagehaving been the most successful. Now, however, The London Dermatology CentreTM is proud to offer medically-proven treatments that give the skin the best chance of repigmentation. No drug can stop the process of vitiligo, but some medications, either used alone or combined with light therapy, can help to improve the skin's appearance.
Our vitiligo clinic is run by leading dermatologist Dr Chopra who has many years of experience in treating vitiligo patients, both in the NHS and in private practice.
In your initial consultation,Dr Chopra will thoroughly assess your vitiligo and medical historybefore discussing your treatment options with you. The best treatment will depend on the extent of your vitiligo and which parts of the body are affected.
A topical corticosteroid may help to control inflammation and repigment the skin, particularly if you start applying it early on in the disease. It can take several months to see a change in the skin's colour. Corticosteroid cream is effective and easy to use, but side effects include skin thinning or the appearance of streaks on the skin.
Narrow-bandUVB therapy (TLO1) is used for treating vitiligo among many other skin disorders. To reduce the appearance of vitiligo, you may receive treatment in our clinic up to three times per week. Light therapy is now considered the gold standard of treatment for vitiligo that covers more than 20% of the body. The best results with this process are achieved on the face, trunk and limbs.
Combined Light Therapy and Medication
This vitiligo treatment, known as PUVA, combines a drug called psoralen with light therapy (photochemotherapy) in the form of either UVA or UVB light. The drug is taken orally or applied to the affected skin before light therapy is then administered.Psoralenmakes skin more sensitive to the light, so at the end of this procedure the skin turns pink. When the skin heals, a normal skin colour appears. This combined treatment is not recommended for children under 12.
With repeated treatments, good results in repigmenting vitiligo can be achieved with this method. You may need to visit the clinic up to three times a week for six to 12 months to see best results.To achieve a balanced, natural skin tone, it can help to frequently apply sunscreen for one to two days after each treatment. You should also wear UV-protective sunglasses and avoid direct sunlight.
This procedure, which involves removing the remaining colour around the affected skin, is suitable for patients with very extensive vitiligo.It may also be used if other treatments have failed. This therapy involves applying a medication called monobenzone to unaffected areas of skin, gradually lightening it so that it blends with the areas affected by vitiligo. Therapy is undertaken twice per day for nine months or possibly longer. Skin contact with other people should be avoided for at least two hours after applying the drug so that it is not transferred to them.Depigmentation can permanently make your skin extremely sensitive to sunlight.
Be sure to visit a registered skin doctor that specialises in treatment of vitiligo to avoid possible side effects from treatment,which includeblistering, itching, over-darkening of the skin, sunburn as well as an increased risk of cataracts and skin cancer.
Make an Appointment
Please contact our clinic in London on +44 (020)7 467 3720 to make an appointment with leading dermatologist Dr. Chopra. Equipped with many years of experience in treating vitiligo patients, he will evaluate your individual skin condition and discuss the best treatment for you. You may also send an email to [email protected] and our team will respond to your questions or appointment requestas soon as possible.
Listen back to Dr Chopra's recent interview about vitiligo on the BBC Asian Network:
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