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Vitiligo

By | Feb. 2012
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Vitiligo
Vitiligo is a skin condition, and sometimes is referred to as the Michael Jackson Disease. It is a skin condition in which there is a loss of pigment from areas of skin. That then results in irregular white patches of skin.

Vitiligo occurs when the melanin forming cells, also called melanocytes fail to produce melanin. Melanin is the dark pigment that is in the epidermis that gives us our skin color. When the melanocytes fail to produce melanin, white patches of skin appear on the skin. Although we know how it occurs, we do not know why it does. There are many theories of why vitiligo does happen. These include immune system disorders, family disposition (heredity), sunburn, emotional distress, or melanoma. But again these are just theories and have yet to be proven as a definite cause of vitiligo.

Treatment for vitiligo includes trying to restore normal pigment to the cells or destroying the remaining pigment cells. These options include topical corticosteroid therapy, topical immunomodulators, photochemotherapy either topical or oral, narrowband ultraviolet therapy, excimer laser, and depigmentation. Both topical corticosteroid therapy and topical immunomodulators are ointments used directly on the areas of skin affected, and may help return the pigment to the skin. Photochemotherapy involves going to a dermatologist, and having them apply a topical psoralen to the affected areas or orally taking psoralen, and then exposing the areas to an ultraviolet light. Narrowband ultraviolet is similar to photochemotherapy except no psoralen is required, and it uses ultraviolet B light, instead of ultraviolet A. Depigmentation is a permanent option. Instead of returning color to the affected areas, it removes the pigment from the unaffected areas. Along with those options there are also surgical therapies used to treat vitiligo, and they are autologous skin grafts, blister grafting, and tattooing. An autologous skin graft involves moving unaffected skin...
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