Do you notice white spots, patches or blotches of white skin after you’ve been in the sun? A discoloration sign of vitiligo, which is caused by a loss of pigment.
Unfortunately, vitiligo causing white skin is not a uniform loss of pigment all over. Instead, the lack of melanin starts in a spot and spreads into enlarging patches or irregular blotches of skin discoloration. The most common areas for white patches on your skin are:
Notice that these non-pigmentation spots are likely to have the greatest exposure to sun.
Other skin areas that frequently get the white blotch look include:
If you are dark skinned, the inside your mouth may lose its color. Andvitiligo can also cause your hair to prematurely gray or turn white.
So why does this white skin discoloration and gray hair happen? Frankly, the cause for melanin producing cells to malfunction is unknown. Some identifiable patterns and theories implicate:
- might run in families ~ hereditary
- may be an immune system disorder
- reported trigger events ~ sunburn, emotional distress
- more common with autoimmune diseases ~ hyperthyroidism
- usually starts before age 40 ~ often first appears 20-30 age range
- affects both sexes and all races ~ more noticeable with darker skin
Nothing has been proven to be a definitive cause of white skin patches of vitiligo.
There is no cure for vitiligo, but you have several white blotches on skin treatment options. Two avenues of approach for treatment is to keep your non effected skin white or target the progression of pigment loss.
One way to keep your skin tone differences at a minimum is to avoid the sun completely. Two glaring issues with this “keep your skin white” strategy is quality of life and natural production of vitamin D. Not the healthiest way to go.
Sunscreen is a treatment approach to combat your pigment action of browning. Couple this with cosmetic cover ups and you might discover appearance satisfaction. This anti blotches game plane might work if you are light skinned to start with, and ensure dietary replacement for lost vitamin D.
Cosmetics, such as a concealer or stain, offers you a short term solution for your white patches. Or you could do a permanent quick fix and tattoo over your no pigmented white skin discolored areas.
Treatments aimed at restoring color to your white spots or patches of skin discoloration would mean paying a visit to your health care professional. Following are medical treatments used for vitiligo, aimed at evening out your skin tone by restoring or destroying pigment.
Topical corticosteroid therapy is used to help return your skin to its natural color. These drugs are similar to the hormones produced by your adrenal glands. Takes about three months before you see any changes to your white skin blotches. But this topical cure is generally deemed simple and safe, with possible side effects of thinning or striae skin.
Phototherapy is another form of treatment to bring out your inborn pigment. Ultraviolet A and B light is used, with or without drugs. This election is not available everywhere, requires routine office visits and can cause sunburn.
Depigmentation is a treatment alternative to fade your pigmented skin to match white spotted skin. This method is encouraged if your vitiligo consumes over 50% of your skin surface. Procedure is via application of monobenzone (Benoquin) twice daily to pigmented areas. Side effects you may experience:
Depigmentation is irreversible, so make darn sure this is what’s best for you.
Skin or blister grafting and tattoo implanting may be a treatment option if your vitiligo is brought to you in small white patches.