Important information about vitiligo and treatment in Westlake, OH

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White spots on the skin are not a threat to health, but they can have a negative impact on self-esteem. You can count on the doctors at Associates in Dermatology for compassion and treatment options. They have helped countless individuals across the Middleburg Heights, Lorain, and Westlake, OH area get vitiligo under control.

Understanding vitiligo causes

For reasons that medical science does not yet fully understand, vitiligo occurs when the immune system attacks melanocytes, (pigment producing cells) in the skin. Melanocytes die or production of melanin stops. Heredity may be a factor. In addition, a severe sunburn, exposure to harsh chemicals, or unusual stress, or trauma,  can trigger vitiligo.

Vitiligo symptoms

Vitiligo usually appears between the ages of ten and 30. It presents as light areas of skin. Vitiligo on lips and around or inside the mouth is common, and it may also show up on the:

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  • Eyelids
  • Nose and inside nostrils
  • Face
  • Hands
  • Arms
  • Armpits
  • Navel
  • Groin
  • Feet

The condition can also cause loss of hair color on the head, eyebrows, or lashes. Sometimes vitiligo causes the retina, a portion of the eyeball, to develop white spots.

Affected areas start small, but vitiligo is progressive. Without treatment, large portions of the body could become involved.

Is vitiligo curable?

There is presently no vitiligo cure. Rather, treatment concentrates on slowing progression of the disorder, and returning some color to skin. Vitiligo treatment in the Westlake, Middleburg Heights, and Lorain OH area is available at Associates in Dermatology.

Upon diagnosis, treatment may include topical corticosteroid cream. Started early, it can help the skin to regain color. Calcineurin inhibitor medications can also be effective for patients with small patches of vitiligo on the face or neck.

We have had good success with light therapy, as well. A plant-derived formulation is applied to the affected skin or taken orally. Then, sensitized skin is exposed to a controlled dose of UVBlight. These treatments are repeated several times per week, for up to a year to slow or reverse the advancement of vitiligo, with the possibility of re-pigmentation.

If these treatments are not beneficial, the patient may choose to have unaffected skin lightened to blend with white areas. This process takes about nine months and is permanent.

At Associates in Dermatology, you also get excellent guidance on sun protection, to shield de-pigmented skin and reduce contrast of vitiligo spots. Call (440) 482-8323 now – before your vitiligo progresses any further.

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