Vitiligo affects anywhere between 0.5% to 2% of the world’s population and remains a medical mystery to this day. The condition isn’t painful or life-threatening, but it can have a profound effect on your life. At Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry, Oswald L. Mikell, MD, and his team have the tools that can help. If you suffer from vitiligo, call the office in Hilton Head, Okatie, or Beaufort, South Carolina or book an appointment using the online scheduling tool.
Vitiligo is a condition where the cells that produce your melanin, which is responsible for your skin color, mysteriously stop functioning properly or die off. The disease doesn’t stop at skin color, however, and can also affect the color of your hair or the color of your eyes.
Vitiligo varies incredibly from one person to the next concerning severity and appearance. While some people may only develop small patches of whitened skin, others can develop great swaths of color loss over large areas.
As well, the progression of vitiligo can be vastly different for different people. Some people may develop small patches as a child that stay largely unchanged throughout their lives. Others may face progressive depigmentation that continually expands.
While skin color has little to do with the disorder, vitiligo is more readily noticeable in people with darker skin tones. It also has no age preference and can show up in both children and adults.
Medical researchers still don’t have a handle on what causes vitiligo, but they believe that it’s a complex interaction between your genes, your immune system, and triggering events that cause depigmentation (losing color in your skin).
Because there’s no pinpointable cause of the condition, there’s no single cure for vitiligo. Still, while there may not be a magic bullet for the skin condition, there is something that Dr. Mikell can do to help you regain color in your skin.
Using the XTRAC laser, Dr. Mikell can deliver UVB light onto the affected areas to spur repigmentation. This technique signals your body to produce healthy new skin cells to take the place of the affected cells in the depigmented areas. The highly-targeted light energy doesn’t have any impact on your surrounding tissue.
The answer to this depends upon the extent of your vitiligo. You should expect to visit Dr. Mikell for bi-weekly treatments until your problem is resolved. Rest assured, during your initial consultation, Dr. Mikell gives you an approximate timeline.
If you’d like to reverse the effects of vitiligo, call Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry, or use the online form to set up an appointment.