West Houston Dermatology

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Managing with Vitiligo

Vitiligo, the skin depigmentation disease, can have devastating effects in patients – especially when the lesions appear on the neck and face.  There is no cure for vitiligo at this time, but there are good management strategies your dermatologist can provide.  Some treatments include topical medications, narrow band UVB light therapy, or a combination of treatments to create a synergistic approach.  It’s not uncommon for vitiligo patients to get discouraged with treatment, especially since therapy usually involves a lengthy duration.  To help with the sense of discouragement, it’s helpful for dermatologists to take baseline photos of the affected skin so that comparisons can be made down the road at regular follow-up treatments.  Though numerous sites on the Internet tout that they can “cure” vitiligo, patients should be cautious and stick with treatments that have been evaluated by clinical studies and evaluated by medical peers in dermatology.  The workhorse for vitiligo treatment remains to be narrow band UVB therapy, and in some cases laser therapy.  Treating this autoimmune disease is frustrating to the patient and physicians, but we hope advances are on the horizon.  An Italian randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed some evidence that using antioxidant vitamins in patients may be beneficial.  The Italian trial examined Vitamin C, Vitamin E, alpha lipolic acid, and polyunsaturated fatty acids both two months prior to UVB treatment and for 6 months following UVB treatment.  When compared to the placebo-treated control patients, those who experienced greater than 75% regimentation was about 2.5 times higher for patients taking vitamins.  In Houston West Houston Dermatology is one of the few dermatology practices equipped with a full body UVB treatment center.  For more information about how to manage your vitiligo, contact Dr. Stephen Mahoney today.