Beauty is more than skin deep
Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder that mostly affects the skin. The cells that make pigment in the skin are destroyed, causing white patches of depigmentation. Some people develop a few patches while others lose much more skin color. In some individuals, it also affects the mucus membranes. Hair that grows in parts of the skin that is affected by vitiligo usually turns white. When this happens, predominately white patches appear on the skin in various parts of the body. Vitiligo is usually not harmful, but it can take a real emotional and psychological toll on patients who have this issue.
A different kind of pain
Patients with vitiligo can deal with significant emotional stress, particularly those who present with highly visible areas of vitiligo on the face, hands, arms, and feet. Adolescents, who are naturally self-conscious about their appearance, can be devastated by widespread vitiligo. More often than not, patients with vitiligo feel embarrassment, shame, and even depression over concern about how others will react to their condition. Nearly every area of the body can be affected by vitiligo, including the genitals. Even an eye can lose some color. The condition affects both men and women, as well as people of all races and ethnicities. What is universally understood is that some people need to develop adequate coping strategies. The first step is to learn about vitiligo.
Tips for managing vitiligo
If you dermatologist confirms that you have vitiligo, she or he will discuss treatment options with you. Some treatment options may restore lost skin color. We want to offer some tips and suggestions that can help you manage vitiligo. Consider the following:
- Avoid significant exposure to the sun.
- Skin that has lost its pigment sunburns very easily.
- A sunburn can make vitiligo worse.
- For those with fair skin, avoiding a tan can make your vitiligo barely noticeable.
To protect your skin from the sun:
- Generously apply sunscreen every day to areas on your skin that is not covered by clothing.
- Use a sunscreen that offers “broad spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection.
- Make sure that sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or more.
- Generously apply the sunscreen every one to two hours, even for brands that are water resistant.
- It is crucial that you apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors.
- Sunscreen should also be used even on cloudy days.
Avoid the use of tanning beds and sun lamps because they can burn skin that has lost pigment. If you desire to add color to your skin, consider using cosmetics. This is a safe way to add color to your skin without undergoing treatment. Self-tanners and dyes last longer than makeup, and works best for white spots. Choose self-tanning products that contain dihydroxyacetone.
Compassionate treatment for vitiligo
The severity of a skin condition such as vitiligo can depend upon many factors. If you are finding it difficult to live with your condition, Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte can provide high quality and innovative treatment in a caring and professional environment. Dr. Nixon and Dr. Haught are board certified dermatologists whose dedication, experience, and knowledge will provide the best possible treatment for your skin, hair, and cosmetic concerns.
Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte also offers medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology; including removal of skin cancer. They provide a full range of cosmetic offerings such as skin tightening, fat reduction, chemical peels, Botox treatments, microdermabrasion, and more. They provide treatment for both adult and pediatric patients. Call their office today for a skin care evaluation and analysis of your vitiligo or any other skin condition.