Do not despair, there are plenty of efficient therapies out there. Keep in mind that most vitiligo treatments are long term (2-6 months) and the best therapeutic plan is individual. The sooner you start treating vitiligo, the better.
Generally, young people respond well to the treatment. Most patients find it easy to repigment the face while hands and feet are particularly difficult to treat.
On the 26'th of August, The Today Show ran a segment a vitiligo. It featured Darcel de Vlugt, a 23 year old girl that was born black and lost all her pigment due to vitiligo.
Her disease began as a few white spots on her forearm at the age of five. As the years passed, she developed patches on her legs and forehead, that later spread to the rest of her body. By the age of 17 Darcel's transformation was complete.
Hedvig Lindahl is a 26 year old Swedish football player who currently plays for Göteborg football club in Damallsvenskan. She has been regularly convoked for the Swedish national football team and won the Goalie of the year award in 2004 and 2005. She has played in two Olympics and won several medals in national competitions.
Hedvig has had vitiligo since she was little and agreed to answer some questions about how it impacted her life and career.
Having a look at a recent press release I found out that a Loyola University Hospital researcher is focusing her research on finding a treatment for vitiligo. The interesting part is that she says this could also lead to a treatment for melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
In vitiligo, the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks pigment cells, causing the skin to lose color. On the other side, melanoma could be treated by reviving up the immune system to start attacking malignant pigment cells.
I often noticed people as well as medical professionals misspelling the name of our skin disorder. Probably the most common spell error accounts for the horrific "vitaligo".
So let's find out how to correctly pronounce, write and read the name of our disease. Vitiligo is pronounced vit-ihl-eye-go. The name comes from the latin "vitium", meaning fault, defect which in this case is a spot or bleamish and the suffix "ligo" which means "to cause, to provoke". So vitiligo can be translated as "causing spots, depigmentation".
To set things straight: there is no cure for vitiligo. The good news is there are some effective therapies available. In vitiligo, a treatment is not universally applicable: what works for someone may yield little or no results for someone else. There are cases in which individuals have achieved full repigmentation so we might be tempted to say they are cured. False ! Reoccurrence of spots is frequent in vitiligo patients.
Based on evidence that oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of vitiligo, it appears that antioxidant supplements are helping vitiligo patients regain pigment.
In the November 2008 issue of Dermatology Times, dr. Pearl Grimes, one of the scientists working to find a cure for this skin disorder, says that based on clinical trials she recommends her vitiligo patients the following vitamins: