Vitiligo is caused by skin patches losing or not producing melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin color. It is not a major health problem, but can deteriorate into skin cancer for some people, especially if the affected skin is repeatedly exposed to sunlight which burns the skin. Various vitiligo treatments and procedures exist but are dependent on the location and severity of the loss of pigmentation. These treatments and procedures include lasers, steroids, ultra violet light, topical creams, surgery and steroids. A dermatologist decides on the best and effective treatments.
Mild vitiligo on the face, hands, feet and elbows may be a challenge aesthetically, but make up can easily cover up the patches. It is advisable to always wear sunscreen so that the condition of pigmentation loss does not worsen. Topical ointments containing vitamin D, immunosuppressants or steroids are much better suited for large patches on the face and neck. They help darken the damaged skin and stop the spread of vitiligo. Prednisone can also be prescribed but is taken orally.
If the patient chooses to undergo treatment to restore skin pigmentation, a dermatologist may recommend several things. Ultra violet therapy using a fiber optic ultra violet lamp to focus the ultra violet radiation is administered at least twice to thrice a week for several months. Pigmentation gradually returns to the affected skin patches, darkening the skin to almost its normal color. Safer, fewer and less frequent laser therapy may be used, but this is usually more expensive and require highly trained dermatologists.