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Myths and Facts About Vitiligo

Myths and Facts About Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes light patches to form on the face, hands, and across the body. Affecting about 1% of the global population, the condition is not painful or contagious, but it can impact a sufferer’s self-esteem.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about the condition. Oswald Mikell, MD, is a skincare specialist at Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry, and he’s helped patients of all ages understand and treat vitiligo.

In this blog, Dr. Mikell dispels some of the most common myths about this condition.

Myth: Only people of certain ethnicities develop vitiligo

Vitiligo has nothing to do with skin color or race. However, while it can affect anyone, vitiligo patches can be more noticeable in people with darker skin. That’s because the condition depigments skin, creating more contrast between the light and dark areas.

Vitiligo is considered an autoimmune condition, so genetics may play a role in whether or not you develop it. Having a family history of vitiligo or other autoimmune conditions could increase your risk of developing it.

Myth: Vitiligo is present from birth

Most people with vitiligo show no signs of it as babies. Vitiligo is a progressive condition that usually develops gradually in children, teens, and young adults.

It starts with a few small, light patches that grow larger over time. Although any area of skin can be affected, it usually appears on the face, hands, or feet first.

Myth: Vitiligo is contagious

Vitiligo isn’t contagious, so you can’t catch it from someone else. It’s thought to be a type of autoimmune disorder, which means your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks skin cells and makes them lose color.

However, researchers still aren’t sure exactly what causes the condition. They do believe, however, that the immune system, genes, and a combination of external factors may play a role.

Myth: There’s no treatment for vitiligo

While it’s true that there’s no cure for vitiligo, treatment can make a difference. Dr. Mikell and our team treat vitiligo with XTRAC® laser therapy, a process that stimulates skin repigmentation.

XTRAC laser therapy sends targeted UVB light to areas of your skin that are affected by vitiligo. The light triggers new, pigmented cells to grow, which reduces the appearance of vitiligo patches. The XTRAC system is FDA-cleared and safe for all areas of the body, including the face.

Depending on your condition, Dr. Mikell may recommend a series of laser therapy sessions. Most people come in for bi-weekly treatments for a prescribed period of time.

We still have a lot to learn about vitiligo, but in the meantime, you don’t have to let the condition negatively affect your life. To get the care you need, book an appointment over the phone with Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry today.

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