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Vitiligo is a condition in which you lose pigment in your skin. The loss of your natural skin color occurs when pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) die or stop producing melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color.

In many people, vitiligo develops when their immune system attacks melanocytes. Though not as common, some types of vitiligo may appear due to a problem with your nervous system.

What are the different types of vitiligo?
Vitiligo may affect all skin types and appear anywhere on your body. It often begins in a few small patches and gradually enlarges.

This skin condition occurs in two patterns:

Segmental vitiligo
Segmental vitiligo affects one part of your body, such as your face or an arm or leg. Some people with this type of vitiligo lose color in their eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair. The pigment loss typically progresses for about one year before stabilizing.

Non-segmental vitiligo
Non-segmental vitiligo is the most common type and it affects the same areas on both sides of your body. The loss of skin color often starts around your mouth, eyes, or hands.

People with non-segmental vitiligo often go through cycles in which they lose skin pigment, the condition stops for a while and then starts again. Over time, this ongoing cycle creates ever-larger areas of depigmented skin.

How do dermatologists treat vitiligo?
Cosmetic options such as make-up, skin dyes, and self-tanners to cover the depigmented skin can make vitiligo less noticeable.

Though cosmetics are time-consuming and must be frequently reapplied, they may be a good choice for children and others who don’t want to risk the possible side effects of medications.

When treatment is needed, Associated Dermatologists offers:

Topical medications
Several topical medications help to arrest vitiligo and restore color. These medications are tailored for specific body areas.

Light-based therapies
Associated Dermatologists may recommend advanced light-based therapies, such as laser treatment or exposure to narrowband ultraviolet-B (NB-UVB) light. Both treatments stimulate repigmentation.

Surgery, such as skin grafting, is an option for some adults with stable vitiligo. Surgery isn’t an option if you scar easily, develop keloids, or your vitiligo keeps spreading.

For expert vitiligo treatment, call Associated Dermatologists or schedule an appointment online today.