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Vitiligo: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention & Treatment Options

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Vitiligo is a skin problem in which the pigment of the skin fades. It can also refer to white pigmentation on face. On a person’s skin, smooth white areas ,called macules if less than 5mm or patches if 5mm or bigger emerge. Your hair may become white if you have vitiligo in a hairy area of your body.

The disorder arises when the body’s immune system destroys melanocytes , the skin cells that create melanin, the chemical that gives skin its color or pigmentation. Treatment for vitiligo may aid in the restoration of color to the affected skin. It does not, however, prevent additional color loss or a recurrence.

  • Skin color fades in patches . The mucous membranes of your mouth and nose, as well as your eyes, can be affected.
  • Premature graying or whitening of the hair on your head or face.
  • Vitiligo causes most people to lose pigment in their skin. Skin that has been impacted may brighten or turn entirely into white pigmentation on face. Many people have no other warning signs or symptoms. 
  • Vitiligo-affected skin is said to itch or be uncomfortable by a few persons. Vitiligo can induce a variety of symptoms, including low self-esteem and persistent despair. Regardless of the degree of color loss or the type of vitiligo, this can occur.

Although the causes of white pigmentation on face are unknown, there are a few possibilities that have been proposed:

  • Autoimmune disorder: Antibodies produced by the ill person’s immune system may cause melanocyte destruction.
  • Nerve endings in the skin may generate a substance that is toxic to melanocytes, according to neurogenic variables.
  • Genetic considerations: Certain variables that may raise the risk of developing vitiligo can be passed down through generations. 

Self-destruction is caused by a deficiency in the melanocytes, which leads them to self-destruct. Vitiligo can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical or emotional stress. Because none of the answers seem to fully account for the illness, it’s probable that vitiligo is caused by a combination of these variables.

Vitiligo or the white pigmentation on face is usually classified into one of two categories by doctors: 

  • Nonsegmental vitiligo

The most common variety of vitiligo, nonsegmental vitiligo, also known as bilateral vitiligo, vitiligo vulgaris, and generalized vitiligo, causes white patches to appear on both sides of the body. It usually begins on the hands, around the eyes or lips, on the feet, or in an area of the body where the skin rubs against itself regularly. Color loss occurs in spurts over the course of a person’s life with nonsegmental vitiligo, spreading and becoming more visible as time passes.

  • Segmental vitiligo

Vitiligo in segments is also known as unilateral vitiligo. Vitiligo of this sort frequently begins when a person is young. It usually continues for almost a year before coming to a halt. Vitiligo that affects only one area of the body, such as one arm or leg, is known as segmental vitiligo. In around half of the cases, it’s accompanied by color changes in the hair, brows, or eyelashes. Segmental vitiligo is less common than non segmental vitiligo, involving about one in ten vitiligo patients.

The following subtypes of white pigmentation on face are used by doctors to characterize how much pigment loss appears on the body:

  1. Localized Vitiligo: it is a skin condition that affects one or a few areas of the body.
  2. Generalized vitiligo:  Patches of color loss can be found all over the body.
  3. Universal vitiligo: The original skin color is mostly gone. This is quite uncommon.

If your dermatologist thinks you of having white pigmentation on face, they will:

  • Examine your medical history and inquire about specifics such as whether anyone in your family has vitiligo.
  • Examine your body thoroughly, giving special attention to the affected skin.

A blood test to examine the condition of your thyroid gland may also be required. Your thyroid’s health will be determined via a blood test. Thyroid illness can be successfully controlled with treatment.

Medications

Inflammatory drugs: 

  • Applying a corticosteroid cream to the afflicted skin may help restore color. This is the most effective treatment for vitiligo when it is still in its early stages. Although this type of cream is effective and simple to use, it is possible that you will not see any changes in your skin color for several months.
  • Children and people with extensive regions of discolored skin may be administered milder versions of the medicine. For patients whose illness is rapidly worsening, corticosteroid pills or injections may be an option.

Immune-suppressing medications:

Calcineurin inhibitor ointments such tacrolimus (Protopic) or pimecrolimus (Elidel) may help persons with minor patches of depigmentation, notably on the face and neck.

In Office Treatments

  • Light therapy:

UVB phototherapy has been shown to stop or slow the course of active vitiligo. It may be more effective when used alongside corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors. You’ll require counselling two to three times a week. It could take one to three months to notice an improvement, and six months or longer to reap the full effect.

  • Depigmentation

Removing the remaining color is referred to as depigmentation.  This therapy may be an option if your vitiligo is severe and other treatments have failed. A depigmenting chemical is used on parts of the skin that are not affected. Over time, this lightens the skin, mixing it in with the discolored areas. For nine days, the treatment is performed once or twice a day.

Surgery

Some persons with stable conditions may be candidates for surgery if light therapy and drugs haven’t worked for white pigmentation on face.

  • Skin grafting:

 This technique involves your doctor transferring very small portions of healthy, pigmented skin to regions where pigment has been lost. This can be done when you have minor areas of vitiligo. Infection, scarring, a cobblestone look, uneven color, and failure to recolor the area are all possible dangers.

  • Blister grafting: 

In this procedure, your doctor uses suction to create blisters on your pigmented skin, then transplants the blisters’ tops to discolored skin.

Scarring, a cobblestone appearance, and failure to recolor the region are all possible concerns. Suctioning may also cause skin injury, which could result in another vitiligo patch.

  • Transplantation of cellular suspension:

In this surgery, your doctor removes some pigmented skin tissue, dissolves the cells in a solution, and then transplants the cells to the damaged area. 

Over The Counter medications

  • Vitiligo creams and ointments are only accessible with a prescription. Corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors are two examples of potent anti-inflammatories. Your skin may also return to its natural hue in some situations.
  • Steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, vitamin D analogues, pseudocatalase, and depigmenting drugs are some of the topical treatments for vitiligo. To boost the success rate of repigmentation, a combination of therapy is used.
  • Other skin illnesses such as skin cancer, leprosy, and albinism are linked to vitiligo.
  • Vitiligo affects only persons with dark skin.
  • Vitiligo only affects visible skin, such as the face and hands.
  • Vitiligo patients are born with patchy, uneven skin due to their mixed-race parents.
  • Eating specific food combinations can aggravate vitiligo.
  • Use sunscreen every day: You should apply sunscreen to all exposed skin that isn’t covered by clothing. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside to get the most protection. 

Choose a sunscreen that provides complete UVA/UVB protection 

(label may mention broad spectrum) as well as water resistant to provide the protection you require.

  • Wear apparel with an SPF rating to protect your skin from the sun: wear apparel with an SPF rating to protect your skin from the sun: When it comes to UV protection, not all apparel is created equal. An SPF of roughly 1,700 is provided by a long-sleeve denim shirt.
  • Seek shade: When the sun’s harmful rays are at their greatest, you’re more likely to get sunburned.
  • Sunlamps and tanning beds are not safe alternatives to exposure to the sun. These, too, have the potential to burn skin that has lost its color.

The following are the range of products from The Deconstruct for white pigmentation on face:

Beginners Exfoliating Serum 

Lactic acid (AHA) is a mild and gentle exfoliator that acts to gently exfoliate dead skin cells from the face, leaving the skin smooth and even. This unique blend of lactic acid, probiotics, and hyaluronic acid will aid in cell turnover and the removal of dead skin cells without creating irritation.

Brightening Serum

Niacinamide and Alpha Arbutin are a unique combination that enhances skin texture, evens out skin tone, and combats hyperpigmentation, tanning, and freckles.

Clearing Serum

Niacinamide and Alpha Arbutin are a unique and rare combination that works by fighting the development of melanin and successfully helps to eliminate spots, blemishes, and hyperpigmentation.

  • Question: Can vitiligo be triggered by other skin conditions or problems?

Answer: Vitiligo is a separate condition unrelated to skin cancer, leprosy, or albinism. It’s assumed to be an autoimmune illness in which the immune system assaults and kills melanocytes, the cells that give skin its pigment.

  • Question: Is Vitiligo an Indicator of a Medical Condition or cosmetic issue?

Answer: Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin loses its natural color. Many people perceive vitiligo to be a “cosmetic problem” because it affects a person’s look. Vitiligo, on the other hand, is more than a cosmetic issue. It’s a medical problem. Vitiligo occurs when the body’s own melanocytes, the cells that give our skin, hair, and other body parts color, are attacked.

  • Question: What are the risks of vitiligo-related complications?

Answer: Vitiligo patients are more likely to experience social or psychological hardship, as well as sunburn, eye problems, and hearing loss.

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