Vitiligo Treatment in Gatlinburg, TN
The color of your hair, skin and eyes is usually determined by a group of natural pigments called melanin. When the cells involved in producing these pigments die or stop functioning, vitiligo—a disease in which blotches of skin lose their color—may follow. There are three types of vitiligo you may develop:
- Symmetrical vitiligo: In this type of vitiligo, discolored patches appear on many parts of your body, often progressing similarly on corresponding body parts.
- Segmental vitiligo: Typically occurring in younger age, segmental vitiligo only occurs on one side of your body, and progresses for a year or two, then stops.
- Localized vitiligo: Localized vitiligo refers to the kind of vitiligo that occurs on one or only a few areas of your body.
Vitiligo's progression is difficult to predict. While sometimes the patches caused by the disease stop forming without treatment, in most cases pigment loss spreads and eventually involves most of your skin. While there is no cure for vitiligo, only a healthcare provider who specializes in vitiligo treatment, and understands the disease's intricacies, can help stop or slow the discoloring process and return some color to your skin. Meet with a healthcare provider in Gatlinburg. Call (423) 482-8711 or contact AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center online.
A precise vitiligo cause is unknown; however, it is believed that genetic susceptibility triggered by environmental factors such as autoimmune disease (in which your immune system attacks and destroys the melanocytes in your skin) may be to blame. Autoimmune diseases such as hyperthyroidism, alopecia areata and pernicious anemia may put a person at risk for vitiligo, while heredity and certain "trigger events" (such as stress or exposure to industrial chemicals) are also believed to have influence on the onset of vitiligo.
Vitiligo is easy to identify by color (pigment) loss which produces light or white patches on your skin. Discoloration typically shows on sun-exposed areas (such as the hands, feet, arms, face and lips) first. Other vitiligo symptoms include skin discoloration, which can include:
- Premature (occurring before the age of 35) whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or facial hair
- Loss of color in the tissues lining the inside of your mouth and nose (mucous membranes)
- Discolored patches around the armpits, navel, genitals and rectum
Your healthcare provider will begin by taking your medical history and observing your symptoms. He or she will rule out other skin conditions, such as dermatitis or psoriasis . A special lamp which uses ultraviolet light to illuminate the skin can help confirm a vitiligo diagnosis, while skin biopsies may also be ordered. Because sometimes patients with vitiligo are known to suffer from hearing loss as well as eye inflammation, your healthcare provider may request consults from an audiologist and ophthalmologist, respectively.
For many, makeup and self-tanning products serve as a suitable temporary fix for skin blotches. However, makeup and self-tanning products may fail to sufficiently improve the appearance of your skin, and reapplication can be time-consuming, making it an unfeasible treatment option for the long-term. Long-term vitiligo treatment could include:
- In the early stages of the disease, topical corticosteroid creams to control inflammation and return color (repigment) to your skin.
- Light treatment or PUVA light therapy in which Psoralens compounds are applied to the skin topically in order to temporarily make the skin sensitive to long wave ultraviolet radiation (UVA), to which it is then exposed in order to bring about repigmentation.
- Topical calcipotriene (a form of vitamin D) cream, used with corticosteroids or ultraviolet light.
- Medications, such as ointments containing tacrolimus or pimecrolimus (calcineurin inhibitors), for small, localized depigmentation.
- Combining psoralen (a medication to make your skin more sensitive to light) and light therapy (a UVA or UVB light), which makes the skin more normal in appearance.
- For instances in which the skin has not responded to different therapies, a process called depigmentation—in which the remaining color is removed from your skin—may be elected to gradually lighten your skin’s color.
When none of these options work, surgical options can be entertained and may include:
- Skin grafting to remove small sections of your normal, pigmented skin and attach them to areas that have lost pigment to ultimately balance your skin’s overall appearance.
- Blister grafting, a procedure in which your healthcare provider creates blisters on your pigmented skin (usually with suction) and then removes the tops of the blisters, transplanting them to an area of discolored skin.
- Tattooing (micropigmentation), a technique in which your healthcare provider uses a specialized surgical instrument to implant pigment in your skin. This option is most effective around the lips, especially for people with darker skin.
Whatever the extent of vitiligo you are experiencing, it is important to meet with a healthcare provider who can recommend treatment that takes into account your specific skin's condition. Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider in [[city]] who specializes in vitiligo treatment, and address the underlying cause of your skin discoloration today. Call (423) 482-8711 or contact AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center online.
AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center
Address1604 Lamons Lane
Johnson City, TN 37604
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm