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Facts on Vitiligo

Healthcare Inspectorate WalesVitiligo causes the skin, and sometimes the hair, to turn white in patches.  This is because the cells which give the skin its colour have either been damaged or destroyed.  The condition can spread, rapidly or slowly, to cover the entire body surface (universal vitiligo) but this is not inevitable.  The most common form of vitiligo appears in symmetrical form (generalized vitiligo) affecting both sides of the body.   Vitiligo can begin at any age, though about fifty percent of people develop it before the age of twenty.

You cannot catch vitiligo. It is not infectious.

Vitiligo skin condition Vitiligo symptoms Although there are no physical symptoms apart from sunburn in the white patches if they are not protected from the sun, it can cause severe psychological distress, especially when the face, neck, hands and genitals are affected.

Although the disease is more noticeable on dark or tanned skin the degree of distress is not necessarily linked to skin colour or to the extent of the disease.  However, people with dark skin from certain ethnic groups who develop vitiligo may feel particularly stigmatized and fear a loss of identity should the disease become widespread. For more information see http://www.vitiligosocietyweb.org.uk

Treatment There are no treatments guaranteed to clear or prevent vitiligo. Probably the most effective treatment is narrowband UVB which involves treatment by ultra violet light for 2 or 3 times a week for a period of some months (it may require as much as 12 months of treatment). The advantages of this are that no additional medication is required and exposure to the light is for short periods.

PUVA can also be used as a treatment for Vitiligo and could also be considered by your dermatologist. This involves taking regular medication (Psolaren) and visiting a clinic for treatment (by ultra violet A light) two or three times a week for a period of many months.

If you suffer from Vitiligo then contact Clear Skin today on 02920 795775