While vitiligo isn’t contagious or life-threatening, it causes white patches to appear on your skin or hair, and living with this condition can have a severe impact on your self-esteem and overall well-being. Kristen Aguirre, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Fullerton, California. She offers customized treatments — including topicals creams, light therapy and antioxidants — to improve the appearance of your skin and other vitiligo symptoms. Call or schedule an appointment online today to meet with Dr. Aguirre to discuss your condition and potential treatments.
Vitiligo is a condition where the melanin — the cells that produce the color in your skin and other body tissue — stop functioning correctly or die, leaving you with pale, discolored patches on your skin.
Vitiligo can develop anywhere on your body, although it often first develops on areas that are exposed to the sun like your face, arms, or hands. Other vitiligo symptoms include:
There are three types of vitiligo. Generalized vitiligo develops everywhere on your body, and the discolored patches of skin are often symmetrical. Segmental vitiligo develops on one side of your body. Localized vitiligo only emerges in a few small spots.
Vitiligo is a medical condition that affects people of all ages, races, and genders. Medical researchers believe this is due to an autoimmune malfunction that causes your body to attack its own cells.
Your risk of developing vitiligo is higher if you have a family history of the disease or if you or a close family member have other autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid disorder, or alopecia — a condition that causes hair loss.
After diagnosing your condition, Dr. Aguirre creates a customized treatment plan to address your skin concerns. While you receive care specifically designed for your needs, most treatment plans combine medication and light therapy to repair your skin.
Dr. Aguirre may prescribe medications like corticosteroids to control inflammation and help your skin retain color. She usually prescribes corticosteroids as creams or ointments that you rub into small patches of discolored skin.
Dr. Aguirre may also prescribe medicines to regulate your immune system. Drugs like calcineurin inhibitors are often used in conjunction with light therapy to maximize the results. She may also prescribe antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, or others to reduce oxidation, which could contribute to the destruction of your melanin cells.
Light therapy can restore lost color to your skin with or without additional medications. You may sit in front of a lightbox, or Dr. Aguirre may use lasers to treat your skin.
If you or your child have patches of pale skin and are concerned about vitiligo, call or schedule a consultation online today for expert diagnosis and care.