A person’s skin colour is known to influence and attract onlookers thus it has a lot of aesthetic value to it. Those with brighter and smoother skin are widely perceived to be more attractive.Physical appearance depends a lot on skin tone. Thus, the desire to have an unblemished and healthy skin makes people more concerned about their skin quality and texture
Skin is the largest organ of the human body that protects us from harmful radiations like ultra-violet rays. It’s made up of several layers of tissues that fight against harmful lights be releasing a pigment called melanin. This pigment is responsible for our skin colour.
In some people, certain parts of skin stop producing melanin resulting in the formation of white spots or patches. On detection of such patches, one should immediately seek medical help. This condition of hypopigmentation could be vitiligo or leucoderma caused due to auto-immune diseases, hormonal imbalances or any other medical reasons.
White patches have a psychological impact on patients and affect their quality of life. They are stared at because of decolouration of skin. People avoid skin contact with patients on fears of the disease being contagious. In reality, as against perceived by many, vitiligo is not a contagious disease. However, such abnormal behaviour leaves patients with low self-esteem, isolated and embarrassed.
In some cases, the skin produces an excess of melanin. This leads to patches several shades darker than skin colour surrounding the patch. This is also known as hyperpigmentation.Though vitiligo and leucoderma are similar in appearance their causes are different.
Vitiligo can affect any part of the skin but is commonly seen on face, hands and parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight. Segmental vitiligo is a condition in which patches don’t spread whereas non-segmental vitiligo patches, if untreated, can spread to the surrounding area.
On the other hand, leucoderma is a condition in which white patches or scars are formed due to injury, cuts, burns etc due to complete destruction of melanocyte cells that produce melanin.
There are two most-effective and result-oriented treatments of vitiligo. These are safe among many treatments done to treat vitiligo. Treatment can be time-consuming and may take anywhere from 6 months to several years to get the desired result. It varies from patient to patient and the severity of vitiligo.
Skin pigment filling
This is one-day treatment in which the affected area of skin is administered local anaesthesia. The skin pores are opened through micro-needling during the procedure. Skin colour is matched with FDA approved and skin-tested artificial colour. Once the matching is done, the colour is injected into the pores. Thus, the vitiligo patches are coloured.
Combination of acupuncture, UV rays and derma-roller
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapy in which needles are pierced at different depths of the skin. Treatment of vitiligo through acupuncture is becoming more common due to more number of success cases. It is noticed that fresh cases of vitiligo respond quickly to acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture treatment is followed by phototherapy in which the area of treatment is exposed to UV rays. It is among the first line of treatment and requires many sittings for long periods of time. However, the results are worth the time and money spent.
Lastly, the patch is treated with a dermaroller which is a handheld device with micro-needles. Dermatologists prick facial skin using tiny needles on a roller device. The pricks lead to the production of collagen which plays an important role in rejuvenating the skin.
Do’s and don’t’s during treatment:
- Patients should protect the patchy skin by applying sunscreen creams or lotions of SPF higher than 15 or as prescribed by dermatologists.
- After applying lotion, patients should make sure the patch is covered by clothes and doesn’t come under direct contact with sunlight.
- Contact dermatologist immediately on experiencing itching or rashes on the area of treatment.
Avoid use of over-the-counter cosmetics. Soaps with high acidic content can potentially delay the re-pigmentation process.
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