What Are the Treatments for White Spots on the Skin?

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According to vitiligoguide.com, about one out of every hundred people suffers from white spots on their skin. It is likely a disease called vitiligo. Although the exact cause of this skin condition is unknown, there are some ways in which it can be treated.

Vitiligo

  • The medical term for white spots on the skin is vitiligo. There are two main types of vitiligo: segmental, which affects one area of the skin, and bilateral which evenly affects both sides of the body. The parts of the skin that are most affected are those that are exposed to the sun most, such as the face. It is most common among people with dark-colored skin and in individuals younger than 30.

    Vitiligo is an immune disease that is not contagious. In the skin of individuals who have vitiligo, immune cells destroy cells that produce pigmentation. The cause of vitiligo is not known for sure, but there are a few theories. First, it is believed that vitiligo may be genetic. It may also be caused by extreme stress or as a result of an injury to the specific body part where subsequent white spots have formed.

Treatment

  • Once diagnosed with vitiligo, it may be hard to treat, since the cause is not yet fully understood. There are some ways, however, to reduce the appearance of white spots on the skin and to help prevent them from coming back. Still, in many cases, the spots will return.

    A doctor might recommend that a patient undergo psoralen and ultraviolet A light (PUVA) treatment to eliminate the white spots on the skin caused by vitiligo. During this type of treatment, the patient takes a psoralen pill before standing in a box for up to 30 minutes, where they are exposed to UVA rays through a lamp. In order for this treatment to be successful, the patient must undergo the process two to four times a week, and for a total of up to 300 times. This is also the most dangerous form of treatment, as this type of exposure to UVA rays can result in skin cancer.

    Some patients may opt to match the white spots, rather than fight to get rid of them. This process, known as depigmentation, removes the remaining melanocytes in the body in order to even out the body's skin color.

    Melanocyte transplant treatments are up and coming, and involve surgically transplanting healthy melanocytes to areas of the body that are afflicted with vitiligo.

    Short-term usage of topical corticosteroid creams may help reduce the appearance of white spots on the skin, and may stop them from spreading. Use daily for up to six weeks.

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