Vitiligo (pronounced vit-ih-LI-go) occurs when your body loses melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color. This results in patches of depigmented or milky- white skin to appear. These patches can be extremely noticeable, especially on those with darker skin.
Causes of Vitiligo
Though doctors and scientists know what happens when vitiligo occurs (when melanin-forming cells fail to produce the necessary pigment), they have not yet to determine the root cause. Scientists believe it may be caused by an immune system disorder. Heredity may also pose a factor. Emotional distress or a bad sunburn may also bring on vitiligo. However, none of these theories have been proven as a definitive cause of vitiligo.
Do You Have Vitiligo?
The most common sign of vitiligo is milky-white patches on your hands, feet, arms and face. In most cases, pigment loss spreads and can eventually extend to cover your entire body without treatment. However, sometimes the patches stop spreading naturally. Visit your doctor if you suspect you may have vitiligo for a definite diagnosis.
Treatment for Vitiligo
Although no cure exits for vitiligo, various treatments can help stop the depigmentation from spreading and camouflage the white patches.
- Sun Protection. Keeping the non-affected areas of your skin out of the sun can keep your vitiligo from spreading. It will also make the white patches of less obvious. Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat in the sun whenever possible.
- Steroid Creams. Topical corticosteroids may help to bring color back to the affected areas of your skin. Treatment takes many months to take effect and may cause thinning skin and a streaked appearance.
- Skin Grafts. A doctor can take small patches of skin from non-affected parts of your body and attach them to the affected areas. Most helpful to those with serious cases of vitiligo, skin grafts can pose serious complications.
- Concealer. Concealer can help you blend your dipigmented skin into your natural skin tone. However, concealer isn’t waterproof or smudge-proof, so watch out for smearing.
- MicroArt Semi Permanent Makeup Treatment. A MicroArt Semi Permanent Makeup treatment can camouflage your viltiligo spots in just four sessions, 1-2 weeks apart. Unlike concealer, MicroArt semi permanent makeup is 100% waterproof and sweat-proof. It requires no downtime or painful surgery.
Don’t panic if you’ve been diagnosed with vitiligo. Research the different treatment options and determine which is best for you.