- The body’s immune system may destroy the melanocytes
- Melanocytes may destroy themselves
- Defective nerve cells may make toxic substances that harm the melanocytes
- Family members with vitiligo or hair turning gray early
- Certain autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease
- Areas exposed to the sun such as the face, hands, arms, and upper part of the chest
- Areas around body openings such as the eyes, nostrils, mouth, navel, and genitals
- Body folds such as the groin and armpits
- Sites of chronic minor injury such as knuckles and elbows
- Sites of injury such as scrapes, cuts, and burns
- The area around moles
- Repigmentation—replace skin color in patches
- Slowing loss of color
- Decreasing the difference between affected and unaffected skin
PUVA (Psoralen plus UVA) and Narrow Band UVB (nbUVB)
- Corticosteroid skin cream—can sometimes slow the loss of color. It may also help return color to small areas. It may cause thinning of the skin.
- Tacrolimus or pimecrolimus skin creams—can sometimes slow the loss of color. They can help return color to small areas. They may also cause thinning of the skin.
- Skin grafting —done if the condition is not widespread and stable. It may be possible to graft areas of normal pigmentation to the patches.
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- Protect the depigmented area from the damaging effects of sun exposure
- Prevent increased pigmentation of other areas
- Help you change your negative thought patterns and behaviors
- Teach you techniques to help you control anxiety symptoms
- Suggest changes to your social environment to minimize stress
- Gradually expose you to feared situations in a controlled environment
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
National Vitiligo Foundation, Inc. http://www.mynvfi.org
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Gawkrodger DJ, Ormerod AD, Shaw L, Mauri-Sole I, Whitton ME, Watts MJ, Anstey AV, Ingham J, Young K; Therapy Guidelines and Audit Subcommittee, British Association of Dermatologists; Clinical Standards Department, Royal College of Physicians of London; Cochrane Skin Group; Vitiligo Society. Guideline for the diagnosis and management of vitiligo. Br J Dermatol. 2008 Nov;159(5):1051-1076.
Kanwar AJ, Dogra S, Parsad D, Kumar B. Narrow-band UVB for the treatment of vitiligo: an emerging effective and well-tolerated therapy. Int J Dermatol. 2005;44:57-60.
Nicolaidou E, Antoniou C, Stratigos A, Katsambas AD. Narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy and 308-nm excimer laser in the treatment of vitiligo: A review. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009;60(3):470-477.
Shah R, Hunt J, et al. Starting to develop self-help for social anxiety associated with vitiligo: using clinical significance to measure the potential effectiveness of enhanced psychological self-help. Br J Dermatol. 2014;171(2):332-337.
Taïeb A, Picardo M. Clinical practice. Vitiligo. N Engl J Med. 2009;360(2):160-169.
Vitiligo. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/u---w/vitiligo. Accessed Accessed August 27, 2014.
Vitiligo. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 7, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.
Vitiligo. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Vitiligo/default.asp. Updated June 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.
Vitiligo basics. National Vitiligo Foundation website. Available at: http://www.mynvfi.org/about%5Fvitiligo. Accessed August 27, 2014.
- Reviewer: Fabienne Daguilh, MD
- Review Date: 06/2014 -
- Update Date: 00/82/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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