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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Vitiligo: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Skin Conditions


Vitiligo | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the disease?

Many people, especially those with fair skin, choose conservative measures to treat vitiligo. These measures include the following:

  • applying skin dyes
  • avoiding tanning of normal skin around the vitiligo lesions, to lessen the contrast
  • covering skin lesions with makeup
  • using micropigmentation tattooing for small lesions
  • using self-tanning compounds containing dihydroxyacetone, which doesn't need melanocytes to cause a tan
  • Repigmentation treatment involves measures that return normal pigment to skin lesions. These treatments include:

  • corticosteroid creams
  • PUVA, a combination of a medicine called psoralen and skin exposure to UVA, a type of ultraviolet light
  • skin grafts of normal skin to depigmented skin lesions
  • Depigmentation treatment options may be used if the person has vitiligo over more than half of the body. A chemical called monobenzylether of hydroquinone is applied to normal skin areas. The goal is to change all skin areas to the same overall light color.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    PUVA may produce skin burns. Oral medicines can cause stomach upset and allergic reactions. Corticosteroid creams can cause skin thinning and stretch marks. Depigmentation is permanent and may cause severe sun sensitivity. Skin grafts can cause scarring and less than complete repigmentation.

    What happens after treatment for the disease?

    Recurrence or new sites of pigment loss are common. The individual may need lifelong treatment for vitiligo.

    How is the disease monitored?

    Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Vitiligo: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Lynn West, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/01/01

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