Vitiligo is a skin condition that occurs when melanocytes, the cells in charge of melanin production, stop functioning or die, resulting in the skin losing its natural color. While this condition can affect people of any skin tone, it is often more noticeable on those with darker skin. While in recent years the condition has become less stigmatized, there are still many who suffer from self-esteem issues as a result of it. Winnie Harlow, for instance, has severe vitiligo and was a prominent runner in America’s Next Top Model and has since gone on to lead a successful modeling career.
The primary sign of vitiligo is the loss of pigment on the skin in areas that are often exposed to the sun, primarily the hands, arms, and face. Vitiligo can also affect other parts of your body, such as a section of hair turning white, loss of color inside the mouth, or the loss of eye color. Often the condition appears before the age of 20, although it is known to begin in people of any age.
Scientists do not know the exact cause of why melanocytes stop functioning, though your risk of vitiligo may increase if a close blood relative has vitiligo or if you have an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s disease. This is why, although it is often not a dangerous condition, a doctor should always be consulted to ensure there are not underlying health issues.Treatment
While there is currently no way to stop or reverse the effects of vitiligo completely, there are a few treatment options that can help slow the process and reduce some of the discolorations. Vitiligo can also affect other parts of your body, such as a section of hair turning white, loss of color inside the mouth, or the loss of eye color. Inflammation controlling creams, such as corticosteroids may be helpful if used long term. This may be more helpful if used early into the onset of the disorder. For those with small areas of de-pigmentation some ointments and medications that affect the immune system may be beneficial. This method can be useful when used in combination with light therapy. However, these medical treatment options should be administered by your dermatologist who will monitor you to keep an eye on your progress and the development of any potential side effects.
SCS CAN MEET ALL OF YOUR GENERAL AND COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY NEEDS
Skin Care Specialty Physicians has been serving the residents of the greater Baltimore area for over ten years. From skin cancer screenings to treatments for hair loss, eczema, acne, and more, we treat conditions affecting your skin, hair, and nails. We diagnose a wide range of skin conditions each day and work with you to select treatment options that best fit you and your skin. We also offer variety of cosmetic treatments and procedures, ranging from botox to microneedling, to fit you and your aesthetic goals. If you are interested in any of our services, contact us at 410.252.9090. You can also follow SCS Physicians on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and Pinterest.