Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Loss of Skin Pigmentation Treatment

Not all patients with vitiligo require treatment. In some cases, skin color may return without treatment. Treatment for vitiligo must be individualized for every person, based on severity and underlying skin color. Phototherapy and topical medications are the two most common treatments for vitiligo. Treatment may take 6 to 18 months and may involve a number of medications.

Treatment options for vitiligo include:

  • Topical psoralen photochemotherapy for vitiligo:
    • A combination of a topical medication and the application of UVA light exposure
    • The skin turns pink in the treated areas, but will often return to a more normal skin tone.
  • Oral psoralen photochemotherapy for vitiligo:
    • You take an oral medication about 2 hours prior to UVA light exposure
    • Used for larger areas of vitiligo
  • Narrow band UVB phototherapy:
    • A special wavelength of UVB light
    • May be administered 3 times per week
    • Does not require pre-administration with psoralen
  • Laser therapy for vitiligo:
    • The skin is exposed to light from an excimer laser that delivers a controlled beam of UVB light to the skin
  • Oral corticosteroid medications for vitiligo:
  • Corticosteroid creams for vitiligo:
  • Tacrolimus therapy for vitiligo:
    • Available as a topical ointment
    • May be used in combination with UVB light exposure
  • Depigmentation therapy for vitiligo:
    • Medication removes the pigment from normal skin
    • May be used in those who do not respond to other therapy
  • Surgical options:
    • Autologous skin grafts
    • Blister grafting
    • Tattooing

Loss of Skin Pigmentation Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of vitiligo.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for worsening vitiligo?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Loss of Skin Pigmentation Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat vitiligo:

Continue to Loss of Skin Pigmentation Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 9, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Loss of Skin Pigmentation References
  1. Arroyo MP, Tift L. Vitiligo therapy: where are we now? J Drugs Dermatol. 2003 Aug;2(4):404-8. [12884463]
  2. Boissy RE, Manga P. On the etiology of contact/occupational vitiligo. Pigment Cell Res. 2004 Jun;17(3):208-14. [15140065]
  3. Dogra S, Parsad D, Handa S, Kanwar AJ. Late onset vitiligo: a study of 182 patients. Int J Dermatol. 2005 Mar;44(3):193-6. [15807724]
  4. Kostovic K, Pasic A. New treatment modalities for vitiligo: focus on topical immunomodulators. Drugs. 2005;65(4):447-59. [15733009]
  5. Mason CP, Gawkrodger DJ. Vitiligo presentation in adults. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2005 Jul;30(4):344-5. [15953063]
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