Vitiligo is a skin condition affecting the body’s production of melanin in the skin, which causes white patches of skin on the body. There is no known cure for vitiligo, but the symptoms may be treated using various methods.
One treatment for vitiligo involves phototherapy, or treatment using light. With this method, ultraviolet rays are used to stimulate the body’s melanocytes, which are the cells that produce melanin.
Another treatment involves grafting healthy skin into the areas of skin affected by vitiligo. Hopefully, the melanocytes in the healthy skin will begin producing melanin an obscure the pale spots of skin.
Herbal treatments have been used for centuries for treating vitiligo. Herbal treatments general involve a comprehensive treatment not only of the symptoms but of suspected underlying causes. For example, a typical Chinese herbal treatment would address the symptoms of vitiligo with a topical, but it would also attempt to address underlying causes, such as the immune system, digestive system, liver, kidneys, and chi.
Homeopathic treatments are also used for vitiligo. Like herbal treatments, they attempt to address underlying causes, not just the symptoms.
One of the newest treatments for vitiligo is laser treatment therapy. Just like phototherapy, it uses ultraviolet rays to stimulate the melanocytes in your skin. Unlike phototherapy, however, it focuses the light using a laser, so it promises to be more effective and causes fewer side effects.
One treatment that is not often used involves using a chemical to uniformly remove pigmentation from the skin so that the patient’s skin is uniform instead of splotchy.
Doctors also sometimes use a combination of different treatments, sometimes with very good results. The results of treatment are largely dependent on how severe the case is. In a large percentage of cases, treatment is successful in largely mitigating the condition. However, much research remains to be done on vitiligo.