Is vitiligo contagious, and can it be cured?
Is vitiligo contagious, and can it be cured?
Vitiligo is a well-known skin disease. Do you know what it is? What are the risks? And is there a cure for vitiligo? Follow us in this article to learn more information about this disease.
What is vitiligo?
It is a skin disease in which the skin loses its natural color and appears as white spots in some areas of the body. It can affect any part of the body, including the hair and inside the mouth.
What are the causes of vitiligo?
Vitiligo occurs when the skin's pigment cells die or stop performing their function, producing melanin pigment that gives the skin and hair their color.
Some factors related to the appearance of the disease are as follows:
- Disruption or malfunction of the immune system.
- Genetic factors.
- Contact the skin with some chemicals.
- Severe sunburn can stimulate the disease.
- Skin cancer can cause the death or malfunction of pigment cells in the skin.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom is the loss of the skin's natural color and the appearance of white spots on the patient's skin. But there are other symptoms that may appear, such as:
- The mucous membranes lining the nose and mouth lose their color.
- The color of the hair changes to white, whether the head hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, or beard.
- The color of the retina changes.
- The color of the blood vessels under the skin turns pink.
- There is a significant contrast between the natural skin color and the color of the skin spots in dark-skinned patients, and this can be psychologically devastating for them.
What are its forms?
There are several forms of vitiligo as follows:
- Focal vitiligo: the disease appears in one area or a few areas of the body and it is more common in children.
- Segmental vitiligo: the disease appears on one side of the body and occurs at the beginning of the disease.
- Generalized vitiligo: The disease appears in several parts of the body, and is considered the most common form.
- Universal vitiligo: The disease appears almost on the entire surface of the skin so that the skin patches are spread in all parts of the body.
- Facial and extremity vitiligo: The disease appears on the skin of the face, hands, fingers, and also around body openings such as the eyes, ears, and nose.
- Mucosal vitiligo: The disease appears on the mucous membranes lining the nose and mouth.
Is vitiligo curable?
There are many methods of treatment that work on restoring the color of the affected skin or unifying its color, and each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, one method is not used for all patients. The methods of treatment can be summarized as follows:
There is no specific medicine that can completely cure vitiligo, but some of the natural color of the skin can be restored by using a certain medicine or by combining several medicines as follows:
Topical corticosteroid creams
- One of the treatments that control inflammation, it is applied to the affected skin.
- This may restore the skin to its natural color when vitiligo is in its early stages or in children.
- The facial skin is one of the best areas to respond to this, and the skin of the neck and affected extremities (except for the fingers and toes) also responds well.
- The reason for the response of these areas more than others is still unknown, but it is believed that facial skin has more permeability to corticosteroid creams.
- In some cases, the doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections or tablets for people whose condition is progressing rapidly.
- This method has some possible side effects, such as thinning of the skin or the appearance of lines on it.
- Such as calcineurin inhibitors like tacrolimus, which may be effective in small skin pigmentation, especially in the facial and neck area.
- These creams are safer for children than using corticosteroid creams.
- This method is more effective when combined with treatment with ultraviolet or laser therapy.
- By using narrow-band ultraviolet radiation, it may slow the progression of active vitiligo.
- Its effectiveness increases when combined with corticosteroid or calcineurin inhibitor treatment.
- The patient undergoes this treatment two to three times a week for up to three months before any changes are noticed.
- Side effects such as itching, burning, and redness of the skin may occur but disappear within a few hours after treatment.
- Light therapy is combined with the use of a plant-derived substance called psoralen.
- The patient takes psoralen orally or applies it to the affected skin and is then exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
- The patient may turn to this option when vitiligo is widespread and no treatment has been successful.
- The depigmenting agent is applied to the unaffected skin, which lightens the natural skin color and blends with the affected skin color, making the patient more accepting of themselves.
- Side effects such as itching, swelling, redness, and severe skin dryness occur, and skin depigmentation is permanent.
In cases where phototherapy and drug treatment have not been successful, some stable vitiligo patients - where the disease has not progressed or there has been an increase in skin patches over a year - may resort to surgery where skin color is restored, as follows:
- Skin grafting
The doctor transfers small parts of healthy skin to affected areas.
- Blister grafting
The doctor creates blisters on healthy skin through suction and then transplants the top part into the affected skin.
- Cellular suspension transplantation
The doctor takes some tissue from healthy skin, places the cells in a solution, and then implants them into the affected area.
Lastly, if you have vitiligo, try to express your feelings and communicate with a psychiatrist if you feel depressed.
Reach out to those who care about you and ask them for support. Do not be shy about it.
And if you know someone with vitiligo, be supportive and work to improve his psychological state.