Vitiligo is a disease that causes loss of skin color. How extensive the vitiligo can invade a person's skin and how severe the loss of skin color varies greatly and is unpredictable. Vitiligo can attack any part of the skin in the body, and doesn't close the possibility can be about hair, the inside of the mouth and even the eyes. Under normal conditions, the color of skin, hair, and eyes is determined by a pigment called melanin. In vitiligo, the cells that make up melanin stop functioning or die. Therefore, the form of white patches on the skin due to melanin unable to produce skin color.
Vitiligo is a long-term disease that can occur at any age, but most experienced before the person aged 20 years. Although vitiligo can attack people with different types and colors of the skin, the symptoms may appear more clearly in people with black skin. Vitiligo is also divided into two categories, namely vitiligo thoroughly attacking both sides of the body and vitiligo that occurs only on certain parts or one side of the body only. The most common type is comprehensive vitiligo with an estimated number of people about 90 percent.
Although not infectious and harmless, vitiligo can make the sufferer feel less confident and stressed. Vitiligo treatment only aims to improve the appearance of the skin, but can not cure the disease.
Vitiligo can attack all skin of the body pengidapnya. Some parts of the body susceptible to vitiligo is the skin surface most often exposed to sunlight such as hands, feet, face, lips, fingers, and neck. Vitiligo can also attack the roots of the hair and cause the growth of gray hairs on hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard ..
If you have this disease, the main symptom of the most prominent is the appearance of spots that initially colored younger than normal skin and then turned white. The edges are sometimes flushed and inflamed or change color to brown.
The patches are generally permanent and more prone to sunburn. Although not cause irritation or rash , vitiligo spots can be itchy.
Immediately contact your doctor if you experience abnormal changes in skin color, hair, or eyes. Precise handling in the early stages can hinder the development of this condition.
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Causes and Risk Factors Vitiligo
The color of a person's skin is determined by a pigment called melanin. Melanin is produced by skin cells called melanocytes. In the case of vertigo, the amount of melanocytes is inadequate to produce melanin on the skin, so that will form a white patch on the skin or hair area.
Until now, the cause of the lack of melanocytes is still not known with certainty, but some experts suspect this condition is triggered by a number such as:
- Autoimmune disease . Autoimmune is a condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys healthy body cells, one of which is melanocytes in the skin.
- Family history (heredity).
- Conditions that trigger the occurrence of vitiligo, such as sunburn, stress, or exposure to chemicals.
- Melanin that determines skin tone and protects the skin from the bad effects of sunlight.
Vitiligo Diagnosis Process
The diagnosis of this disease is generally through a physical examination by a physician. In addition, your doctor may ask you some things like:
- History of vitiligo in the family.
- History of autoimmune diseases in the family.
- Is there a history of trauma to the area affected by vitiligo â € "for example: sunburn or severe skin disease in the area before.
- Are there any areas of the skin that are more sensitive to sunlight and more sunburn.
- Is there a certain area of skin that improves without treatment, or worsens.
- The medical history you have done.
To confirm the diagnosis, there are several types of detailed examinations that would normally be advisable. One is the skin examination using ultraviolet lights. In this test, you will be asked to enter a dark room, and a lamp will be placed at a distance of approximately 10 cm from your skin. Vitiligo patches will be more easily seen under ultraviole light exposure, as well as useful to rule out other skin diseases, such as panu.
Blood tests may be recommended to check for other possible autoimmune conditions, such as diabetes, Addison's disease, or hyperthyroidism.
Step Treatment Vitiligo
Handling of vitiligo is intended primarily to improve the aesthetics or skin appearance by restoring the skin color as before. Unfortunately, the impact of therapy is often only temporary, and does not guarantee cessation of disease spread.
Sunlight can be a problem for people with vitiligo. When exposed to sunlight, the skin will produce melanin to protect the skin against the dangers of ultraviolet light. In vitiligo patients, the amount of melanin in the skin is not sufficient, so the skin was not protected from sunlight. Therefore, be sure to use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more to prevent further skin damage.
In addition, you can also use a 'camouflage' skin cream to equalize skin tone. This waterproof cream serves to disguise the spots of vitiligo. Another alternative is cosmetic products such as skin darkening lotion or better known as tanning lotion .
Vitiligo can also be treated with medical procedures, but these steps generally have side effects that can affect your health. Therefore, doctors tend to advise the treatment of vitiligo with body care products and cosmetics to the maximum before deciding other handling measures.
Taking care of medical treatment also requires patience because it takes a long time before you feel the effectiveness. Here are some medical procedures that can be lived with people with vitiligo.
- Topical medicationSome types of topical medications used to treat vitiligo are corticosteroids, pimecrolimus or tacrolimus , and depigmentation lotions. Cream or ointment of corticosteroids is recommended for people with vitiligo who only have patches on a small part of his body. But this ointment should not be used on the face and is avoided by pregnant women. Corticosteroids have significant side effects, such as inflammation, thinning skin, and stretch marks . Therefore, the doctor will monitor the condition of the person periodically during use.
Other topical medications that can be an alternative are pimecrolimus or tacrolimus . Both are medications commonly used to treat eczema . Some of the side effects that may occur due to these drugs are the skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight, the sensation of burning or pain, and facial flushing and skin irritation when you consume liquor. If you have vitiligo with white patches on most of the body, you can undergo depigmentation. This process is done by applying a lotion containing hydroquinone that will dilunturkan normal skin pigment so that the color becomes similar to the spots of vitiligo.
Unfortunately, the depigmentation of the skin that you live will be permanent so that your skin does not have natural protection from the sun again. In addition, hydroquinone also has the potential to cause itchy skin, sore, and redness.
- Analog vitamin DVitiligo patients will be advised to avoid exposure to direct sunlight because it adversely affects the skin. In fact, vitamin D is one important source for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Therefore, most vitiligo patients need vitamin D supplements to ensure adequate vitamin D in the body. The use of these drugs can be combined with corticosteroids or phototherapy.
- Light therapy (phototherapy)This medical step will be chosen if the patches of vitiligo sufferers are widespread and can not be treated with topical medication. This therapy uses ultraviolet light A (UVA) or B (UVB) to restore skin color that is attacked by vitiligo. Excessive UVA exposure has the potential to increase the risk of skin cancer while UVB exposure will lower it.
- Laser therapyJust like phototherapy, this procedure aims to restore skin color to vitiligo patches. However laser therapy is only effective for vitiligo which attacks a small part of the body's skin.
- Skin grafting operationIn this procedure, the healthy skin of the part of the body that does not undergo vitiligo will be taken and used to coat the skin that has vitiligo patches. This surgery can be done if the patches of vitiligo attack only a small part of the body and do not develop.
Complications of Vitiligo
If left untreated, vitiligo will continue to develop and sometimes lead to several complications, including:
- Social or psychological stress
- Sunburn or even skin cancer
- Eye problems, such as inflammation of the iris (iritis).
- Hearing disorders
- Side effects of treatment, such as dry or itchy skin.