Vitiligo is a skin condition that presents as white patches that stand out against a person’s skin tone. These white patches can form anywhere on the body, but they are more noticeable on areas that are generally exposed, such as the hands, arms, and face. Vitiligo is usually a benign condition and presents no cause for concern.
There are no treatments that completely rid the skin of vitiligo, and the condition can seriously affect a person’s self-esteem. However, there are certain products and treatments that can decrease the appearance of white spots and help prevent future spots from appearing. If you’re curious about strategies for lessening the appearance of vitiligo, contact our Mt. Vernon, IL office. We can help you find a strategy to mitigate the condition.
What Causes Vitiligo?
Bodies naturally produce melanin, the compound that produces skin pigment. The amount of melanin present determines a person’s skin tone, and it contributes to variability in shades. A person who produces more melanin will have darker skin, while a person who has lighter skin will produce less melanin.
Genetics typically determine the amount of melanin a person naturally produces, but everyone has nearly the same number of melanocytes, or the pigment-forming parts of skin cells. Vitiligo develops when a person’s own immune system attacks their melanocytes, causing these cells to permanently stop producing melanin. This results in the loss of skin pigmentation, creating areas of pale skin. Anybody can develop this condition, but it is more noticeable on people that have darker skin.
When Does Vitiligo Appear?
This skin condition usually develops between the ages of 10 and 40. It does not seem to favor one sex over another. The condition has been known to appear in the aftermath of some form of skin trauma, such as a wound or a burn. Even too much sun exposure has also been thought to trigger the formation of these white spots.
Generally, if your family has a history of vitiligo, you are more likely to develop it. Although the appearance of these patches may be alarming at first, visiting a doctor can help assuage fears. A dermatologist can diagnose the condition and suggest products that may alter the appearance of spots.
There is no singular strategy to prevent white spots from appearing. However, researches have made progress in developing treatments over the past few years, and there are some options that might improve the appearance of the skin. Now, vitiligo treatments typically include the topical use of steroid creams and ultraviolet light therapy on the affected areas.
When to See a Doctor
Vitiligo is not a dangerous condition, but it can cause considerable harm to a person’s self-confidence. Additionally, individuals may mistake vitiligo for a more serious condition, causing a panic. The only way to determine whether your skin spots are the result of vitiligo is to schedule an appointment with a trusted dermatologist. Once you receive a diagnosis, a doctor can suggest treatment options that may lessen the appearance of spots.