Vitiligo or White Patches on Skin

What Does Vitiligo Mean?

Vitiligo is a skin condition where white patches (Segmental or Non-segmental) develop on the skin. Worldwide, there are thousands of individuals diagnosed and living with vitiligo and significantly differs with its skin coverage in individuals…

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Vitiligo generally causes an abnormal skin pigmentation in different areas of the body, such as fingers, around the eyes and lips, among other regions. The condition is triggered when one’s pigment-producing cells known as the melanocytes located in the lower layers of the epidermis of the skin are damaged.

Scientifically, the melanocytes cells produce a pigment known as melanin. This melanin pigment is responsible for giving an individual his or her natural colour. In case the cells are damaged, die, or find it hard to function as they ought to, white patches will eventually develop on the skin, a condition known as vitiligo or Leucoderma.

Each individual has a given amount of the melanin pigment, and it so happens that the higher the amount of melanin, the darker one will be and the lower the melanin pigment, the lighter one will be.

It should be noted that vitiligo isn’t a life-threatening condition, but associated with an array of psychological drawbacks and a social stigma. Timely treatment is currently the main fundamental factor for successful vitiligo treatment, otherwise one will find it hard to restore the skin to its original colour. It should also be noted that the extent of colour loss is unpredictable in individuals since, in some, the disease only affects localized regions, whereas, in others, it will stretch to other regions.

Where does Vitiligo occur?

Vitiligo can attack any part of the body, but common parts include the hands, fingers, around the lips, the toes, legs, genitals, the chest and the back. In critical conditions, the whole body may be affected, leaving one hopeless.

Cases of severe vitiligo are triggered by genetic factors, but more patients are battling the same problem due to sun exposure, burns, and autoimmune diseases.

Vitiligo is generally a long-term skin condition in which the skin will continuously lose its melanin pigment and develop white patches. It affects all age groups, genders and ethnic groups or nationalities.

Types of Vitiligo

There are typically two types of Vitiligo which are Segmental Vitiligo and Non-Segmental Vitiligo

SEGMENTAL VITILIGO

1. This type of Vitiligo is not connected to Thyroid issues or autoimmune disorders. It is where depigmentation occurs in one area of the body and it is common in children.

2. This type can effectively be treated if caught at an earlier stage

3. Segmental Vitiligo is also common in relatively younger age groups and tends to spread rapidly in case left untreated.

4. It is not symmetric and happens to attack skin regions that aren’t exposed or seen by others.

NON-SEGMENTAL VITILIGO

1. This is mainly due to the autoimmune loss of Melanocytes which are responsible for producing melanin to give the skin its natural and normal color. It is generally described as a depigmented skin lesion condition brought about by genetic factors or environmental factors

2. This type of vitiligo can affect the whole body and is hardly treated. It will require intense treatments to at least achieve minimal results

3. It is more symmetrical and can attack all individuals (all age groups) and it is quite noticeable. In addition, it tends to attack similar body regions; that is to say, it case white patches develop on the right hand, in no big time, they will also develop on the left hand.

4. This vitiligo type is more generalized commonly classified in different categories such as Universal Vitiligo, Acrofacial Vitiligo, Generalized Vitiligo, and Mucosal Vitiligo

Causes of Vitiligo

Genetic factors- where any family member suffered from the skin problem, there are greater chances that any other person may suffer from it too

Inflammation that leads to destruction of melanin- Melanin is a pigment that gives each one of us his or her own skin color and when there any unfavorable occurrence in the body, they can be damaged hence causing patches

What Causes Vitiligo?

Vitiligo causes differ from one individual to another, but are basically categorized under; genetic causes, environmental causes, medical causes, and autoimmune causes

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Genetic Causes of Vitiligo

In some cases, vitiligo manages to pass on to the next generation through genes, therefore, you may have increased chances of developing vitiligo in case your some of your family or clan members suffered from it.

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Medical Causes

Nerve damage or disorders triggered by certain diseases such as diabetes can lead to vitiligo. Studies indicate that segmental vitiligo is a common type caused by nerve damage or disorders.

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Autoimmune Causes

The defensive mechanism of your body lies in the immune system. Cases where your immune system isn’t functioning as it ought to, it can easily attack the normal cells (melanocytes) responsible for melanin production which directly results in vitiligo

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Environmental Causes

Chemical exposure from factories, sunburn, and skin allergies can also trigger vitiligo.

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Treating Vitiligo with Melanocyte Transplantation

How We Treat at Ms&HTC

It has surpassed skin grafting and it is a surgical procedure used to treat Vitiligo, pigment loss, and Leucoderma.

Initially, the procedure required a dermatologist to extract Melanocytes from the normal part of the skin and then cultured for a period of time in the laboratory. They were then transplanted to the de-pigmented region to recover the normal skin color.

With the advancement of surgical treatments, Melanocytes responsible for producing melanin are transferred from the normal area to the affected area within two hours or three and a half. The latest treatment methods like Melanocyte Transplantation have eased the mode of treatment

Before the treatment

A consultation is carried out at Mohan Skin Disease Hospital to examine patients with their different Vitiligo problems. Treatment is administered or performed as per the extent of the threat. The part to be treated will be protected using bandage for at least 6 days

Candidates for Melanocyte Transplantation

Normally, they are grouped into two categories, those with;

  • Stable Vitiligo- these must have endured vitiligo for at least 8 months or more. It is good to observe that it doesn’t change with time or increase in size
  • Leucoderma patients- this may be due to effects of laser tattoo removal, piebaldism, or dischromia on the burns can also undergo Melanocyte transplantation.

After the treatment

  • Bandage will be applied to the treated region
  • Some patients experience pain and pain killers can be used in that case.
  • There will be bruising, swelling and redness
  • The bandage will then be removed after a few days

Vitiligo Specialty Centre

More than 20 years experience

World wide coverage

Repigmentation is oboserved

Natural transformation

Vitiligo Treatment by Melanocyte Transplantation

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Other Possible Vitiligo Treatments

Skin Grafting

This technique requires great skills to avoid major scarring and other complications. Split thickness grafts are performed as the doctor may find necessary

Epidermal Grafting

A blister is produced in the normal region and then transferred to the affected region after intensive cleaning of the skin. This method is time-consuming, meaning that it is suitable in case of small damaged regions

Side-effects of some treatments

Mainly there will be bruising and swelling after any Vitiligo treatment. This disappears after a while. Some treatments like skin grafting may result in scars, so a patient must be aware of the treatment options.

Infections are rare, but antibiotics are used to prevent or treat them

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Due to his incomparable and distinctive experience in treating Vitiligo, Dr. Mohan Singh has treated countless Vitiligo patients from America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. That is basically because he knows how to treat each vitiligo case accordingly and such experience is rare in the entire world.

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Explore Vitiligo FAQ’s

There is a difference between vitiligo and Leucoderma and according to skin experts, vitiligo is a long-term skin condition triggered by hormonal imbalances, genes, autoimmune conditions, prolonged emotional trauma, whereas Leucoderma is generally triggered by physical trauma. The two skin conditions may seem hard to be differentiated by an individual, but a dermatologist can easily identify one from another. With Leucoderma, an individual will generally witness de-pigmentation in localized regions and the affected spots are closely bound to the skin. With Vitiligo, it tends to be aggressive and can develop without battling a medical condition in the past.

Any extent of vitiligo attack requires a dermatologist or a skin specialist since the skin condition is typically aggressive in nature. In addition, a number of vitiligo treatments tend to have unpredictable results and serious side effects.

In the real sense, many patients have failed to effectively treat vitiligo with their own treatment approaches due to failure to identify the type and the right treatment approach. An experienced skin specialist or a dermatologist will certainly help you eliminate the condition.

A percentage of vitiligo victims have been diagnosed with genetically triggered vitiligo. This means that vitiligo can spread to the next generation or can spread from one family to another. The bad news is that there is no way of hindering vitiligo from being passed on to the fetus unless the latest IVF procedures like PGD and PGS are conducted.

Vitiligo treatments are basically categorized under oral medications, therapies, and surgeries. The best or suitable vitiligo treatment is determined by the extent of the vitiligo attack and the age of the patient. Only a dermatologist can help you prescribe the best vitiligo treatment option, hence the need for an evaluation and a comprehensive diagnosis. In addition to the given treatment approach, a number of home remedies and lifestyle changes can help a patient improve his or her skin aesthetic concerns.

Failed Vitiligo treatments are common and many in general, especially with genetics triggered vitiligo. Wrong approaches and treatments are the main hindrances to overcoming vitiligo in patients.

Any vitiligo treatment poorly performed or conducted after less observation and examination can reduce the chances of effective treatment. Treatments conducted by an inexperienced doctor can also reduce the chances. Meet Dr. Mohan to examine and devise the best treatment for you

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