Vitiligo is classified as a long-term (Chronic) disease, and is estimated to affect 1 in 1000 people. Although it can affect everyone, vitiligo generally occurs before the age of 20 years, more clearly seen in black people.
What do you mean...?. Vitiligo is a disease that causes skin color to fade. Besides being able to attack any skin area on the body, this fading color can also occur in the inside of the mouth, eyes, and hair.
The color of the skin, hair, and eyes is produced by the body's pigment cells. In patients with vitiligo, these cells stop producing color or body pigments. As a result, white spots appear on the skin and gray hair on the hair.
It is not yet known why pigment cells stop producing body pigments, but these conditions are thought to be related to the following factors :
1. Genetic disorders inherited.
2. Autoimmune disease, which is a condition when the immune system attacks and destroys healthy body cells, including body pigment cells.
3. Stress, sunburned skin, or exposure to chemicals that are also thought to trigger vitiligo.
Vitiligo symptoms begin with the appearance of spots on the body. At first, the spots that appear colored younger than the skin, then will bleach gradually.
The appearance of blotches begins in parts of the body that are often exposed to sunlight, such as the face, lips, hands and feet, then spreads to other parts of the body. Furthermore, other symptoms of vitiligo such as :
1. Loss of color pigment in hair, beard, eyelashes and eyebrows, so that it looks like gray hair.
2. The loss of color pigment in the black part of the eye, the inside of the mouth and nose, and in the genital area.
3. In some cases, the center of the spot is white, while the edges are brownish or reddish.
4. Some people feel pain and itching in the area of skin affected by vitiligo.
5. A rash appears on the area of the skin affected by vitiligo, after exposure to the sun.
Vitiligo patches generally appear symmetrically on both sides of the body, and develop and stop repeatedly. When and how quickly the spots stop spreading, they cannot be determined.
In rare cases, spots only appear on one side of the body, then spread for 1-2 years and then stop. Meet experts immediately if the color of your hair, skin, or eyes fades. Handling right at the initial stage can inhibit the development of this disease.
Vitiligo treatment aims to restore the skin color as before. Some methods of treatment can cause side effects.
Therefore, experts or medical professionals will advise patients to first use tanning lotions or skin darkening lotions.
The medical person or doctor also usually recommends that the patient wear sunscreen with SPF 30, or more to prevent skin damage that is more severe due to sun exposure.
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Even though there is no cure for the development of vitiligo, the following drugs can restore the skin color that they suffer from, namely:
1. Topical corticosteroids.
Corticosteroid creams or ointments can help prevent spotting from spreading and restore the patient's skin tone, especially in the early stages of vitiligo.
Corticosteroids are used in vitiligo which has not been widespread. Topical corticosteroids that can be prescribed, including betamethasone, fluticasone, and hydrocortisone. Corticosteroids should not be used in pregnant women, or patients with vitiligo on the face.
In vitiligo which only occurs in small areas, such as on the face and neck, the doctor will prescribe an ointment containing tacrolimus. This ointment can be used with ultraviolet B (UVB) light therapy.
In patients with vitiligo that is very extensive in almost the entire body, the doctor will prescribe a lotion containing hydroquinone. Lotion will be applied to normal skin, so the color will be similar to the vitiligo spots.
UV light therapy or phototherapy is chosen if vitiligo has spread widely, and cannot be handled by topical medication. Phototherapy is done by exposing ultraviolet A (UVA) or B (UVB) light to the area of the skin affected by vitiligo. Before phototherapy, patients will be given psoralen which is used on the skin, so that the skin becomes more sensitive to UV light.
Patients need 3 times a week, 6 to 12 months. Phototherapy can also be combined with laser therapy, prednisolone drugs, calcipotriol vitamin D types, and drugs that affect body resistance such as azathioprine.
The surgical procedure is performed if phototherapy is not effective in patients. the goal of surgery is to restore the normal color to the skin affected by vitiligo. A number of surgical methods for dealing with vitiligo are :
Micropigmentation is done by planting pigments into the skin affected by vitiligo. This procedure is most effective for treating vitiligo on the lips and surrounding skin. Micropigmentation needs to be repeated every few years so that normal skin color can be maintained.
2. Skin grafts
Skin grafts are performed when vitiligo only attacks a small area of the body. In this procedure, the doctor will take healthy skin to coat the skin affected by vitiligo. Skin coughing is performed on vitiligo which has not widened in the past 1 year, and in vitiligo which is not triggered by sunburn burns.
3. Blister grafting
Just like skin grafts, blister grafting is done by taking healthy skin to coat the skin affected by vitiligo. The difference is that the skin taken will be glued first, then the top of the blisters will be removed before being grafted. Please note, it takes months for effective treatment. However, the results will be very diverse for each sufferer...