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What Are the Different Types of Vitiligo Support?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Vitiligo is a medical condition that affects the pigment cells of the body, leading to white patches of skin that may develop sporadically over one or more areas of the body. Vitiligo support may consist of the use of prescription medications, lifestyle modification, or surgical intervention. In many cases, psychological counseling or local support groups are useful sources of support as well. Any questions or concerns about the various types of vitiligo support should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Prescription medications may sometimes be used as a source of vitiligo support. Typically this involves the use of steroid creams in an effort to repigment the affected areas of skin. This method of treatment has the highest rate of success if it is used in the early stages of the disease. Unfortunately, steroid treatments are not always successful and may have negative side effects, such as shrinkage of the skin.

A person with vitiligo.
A person with vitiligo.

Psoralen photochemotherapy is thought to be among the most successful medical forms of vitiligo support available. This treatment method combines chemical-containing drugs with ultraviolet light to help repigment the affected areas of skin. This type of treatment is quite time consuming, and the patient must avoid sunlight and be monitored closely for any signs of complications. Psoralen photochemotherapy is available in both oral and topical preparations, so the patient should discuss with the doctor which approach is more suitable for the individual situation. In some cases, a process known as depigmentation may be used to remove pigment from the surrounding skin so that skin tone appears more even.

Lifestyle modification is an important self-help method of vitiligo support. Sunscreen should be worn any time the affected person is going to be exposed to the sun, even indirectly. Any affected areas of skin should remain covered in order to avoid as much sun exposure as possible. The areas of depigmented skin are more prone to developing more serious problems such as skin cancer. Any skin changes should be reported to a doctor right away for further medical evaluation.

Counseling and other forms of emotional assistance can be a vital component when developing a vitiligo support system. Depending on the severity of the condition and the locations of the depigmented skin, many people with vitiligo may become embarrassed and afraid to engage with the public. Psychological counseling can often help the patient deal with some of these emotional issues. A doctor or counselor may also be able to help the patient find a local support group designed for those suffering from this condition.

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    • A person with vitiligo.
      By: Axel Bückert
      A person with vitiligo.