Vitiligo and leucodermaVitiligo is a disease where white colored spots appear on the skin. These spots are because the melanocytes (cells which produce pigments) of the skin are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. Unfortunately the cause remains unknown. Mysterious factors trigger off the auto immune killing of melanocytes.
Scientifically, it hasn’t been proved to be hereditary. However, a familial clustering of cases can be seen. Leukoderma means destruction of melanocytes by varied mechanisms like burns, contact with acid, phenol or other chemicals. Whereas vitiligo occurs due to unknown causes. Earliest case of Vitiligo has occurred after the age of 4 years.
Types of vitiligo
There are two main types
Generalized and Localized. Localized types occur only over one part of the body e.g. face, hands or legs. Generalized vitiligo involves more than 70% of the body surface area. Segmental vitiligo is an interesting type of localized vitiligo where patches occur along the direction of cutaneous nerves.
Vitiligo and lucodermaVitiligo treatment
Vitiligo is treated with drugs known as Psoralens. Psoralens have to interact with UVA rays of light to be beneficial in vitiligo. This treatment of Psoralens with UVA is known as PUVA Therapy. The source of UVA rays can be from the sun or from special tube lights which emit UVA spectrum of light. However, the treatment is of very long duration and many a times unsatisfactory. Mostly patches on the bones, lips and tips of the fingers refuse to respond.
New advances in treatment
Nowadays new dermato–surgical modalities of treatment are available. Herein, normal pigmented skin can be grafted onto a patch of vitiligo by several surgical methods.
Such methods are:
- Punch grafting.
- Thin Theirsha’s or split skin grafts.
- Postage stamp grafts.
- Tattooing with medical grade sterile inherit pigments.