Vitiligo is a disease involving the melanin-producing cells of the skin. The condition causes the skin to lose color in a blotchy and unpredictable pattern as the cells responsible for producing the melanin that gives skin its color stop functioning. It can occur on any part of the body and can even affect the mouth, hair, eyes, or mouth. Vitiligo is most common in individuals with dark skin tones. The condition does not cause life-threatening complications and is not contagious; however, it can have a significant impact on the individual's confidence and self-esteem. There is no cure for vitiligo, but a board-certified dermatologist can offer treatments that can improve the skin’s appearance in most patients with this condition.
Although the exact cause of vitiligo is not clear, a number of different factors can cause the melanocytes in the skin to quit producing melanin or die. The skin in the affected area becomes noticeably lighter than the surrounding skin.
Vitiligo can be categorized according to how much of the body is affected.
Most patients will eventually experience pigment loss over most of their body. Even if the patches stop forming, the skin rarely returns to its normal color.
The most obvious symptom of vitiligo is skin discoloration that typically first appears on the sun-exposed areas of the body, including the face, lips, arms, hands, and feet. The discoloration can also affect the retina of the eye, the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth, the area under the armpits, the genitals, and the rectum. Individuals with the condition may also have premature graying of the hair. Most patients first notice the discoloration before the age of 20.
We are proud to offer the Pharos Excimer Laser for the treatment of vitiligo. The process works by using a targeted beam of UVB light to eliminate or reduce the appearance of depigmented skin patches.