Vitiligo is a chronic and often highly noticeable condition affecting the skin of many people. White patches develop on the hands or face as a result of immune cells attacking the pigment producing cells in the skin. Vitiligo is not an infection and it is not contagious.
Vitiligo affects people of all races and, while more visually noticeable on people with darker skin types, the impact on patients with lighter skin types can be just as great.
Sometimes, the white patches of vitiligo can be related to other internal medical conditions such as autoimmune disease including thyroid abnormalities.
Vitiligo is very treatable. Unfortunately we are not able to cure vitiligo but it can be treated with significant improvements achievable for many people using creams, light treatments (phototherapy), systemic (tablet) treatments and sometimes, surgical treatments.
Combining treatments usually provides the best results for patients. Often specialised creams together with phototherapy (narrowband ultraviolet B treatment) tailored individually for patients, can give the best results. Phototherapy, together with special anti-inflammatory creams can offer benefits for up to 80% of patients with vitiligo.
As phototherapy treatment is usually performed 2-3 times per week under medical supervision in our clinic and continues for approximately 10 weeks or more, it is only suitable for motivated patients. Each individual treatment takes only minutes and is painless. All phototherapy treatments are bulk-billed at Central Dermatology Clinic, so the only cost to the patient is their time.
Often, the effects of treatment are greater in some parts of the skin than others. The aims of treatment are to stop further loss of skin colour and to restore lost skin colour.
Sometimes no treatment other than cosmetic camouflage and sun protection may be the best treatment.