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Vitiligo Treatments

Vitiligo Treatment

Surgery for vitiligo is useful in resistant areas and residual lesions.

The choice of surgical treatment depends on type of the vitiligo, extent and site of lesions, the availability of equipment and expertise of the treating surgeon. Sometimes, more than one procedure may be required.

Currently available methods are classified as grafting and non grafting techniques. The grafting techniques, which are the more commonly used, include both tissue grafts and the more recent cellular methods.

The causes of vitiligo are unknown, but it doesn’t appear to be an inherited disease. Most patients with vitiligo don’t have a family history of such conditions. However, a family history of such a condition increases the chances of developing vitiligo.

It is believed that vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, wherein the body’s immune system attacks the skin cells. This autoimmune disorder may be the root cause of vitiligo in some people.

Vitiligo is neither contagious nor life-threatening. However, it can be life-altering and all-consuming because some people develop problems like low self-esteem and other psychological problems.

Vitiligo is a sort of genetic skin disorder that results in white patches on the skin. It can develop at any stage of your life and is progressive.

Moreover, these vitiligo patches are more noticeable in people with dark skin. People with vitiligo patches are seen more stressed because of low self-esteem, social stigma, and shame.

Vitiligo treatment can be done in the following ways:

•    Cream for the affected skin to correct pigmentation such as anti-inflammatory steroid creams.
•    Medicines such as calcineurin inhibitors.
•    The latest and effective way to treat vitiligo is through a laser therapy called “Narrowband Ultraviolet-B Phototherapy”. It is also known as NB-UVB therapy.: Note: NBUVB therapy is referred to, for large body areas. For small body areas, Excimer lasers are used.


Nowadays, vitiligo is treated with excimer laser treatment. The results may not be permanent, but it helps repigment the skin. This phototherapy is more effective on the face than on the legs and hands.

An excimer laser is used at a specific wavelength of UVB (Ultraviolet B) radiation. This process re-pigments your skin, ultimately restoring the natural skin color.

The results of the treatment also depend upon the body part affected by the vitiligo lesions. Results are excellent in the parts of the body sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It shows much better results on the face, neck, chest, arms, and legs as compared to areas such as knees, elbows, and extremities like hands, and feet.

NB-UVB Phototherapy 

NB-UVB is used for treating psoriasis, vitiligo/leucoderma, and other conditions treatable with phototherapy.

NB (Narrowband) UVB is widely used phototherapy for treating skin diseases. The “Narrowband” refers to the wavelength (308 nm) of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation that is used in the treatment.

The use of this narrow-band UV radiation has proven that NB-UVB phototherapy is the best alternative to natural sunlight for skin diseases like psoriasis, atopic, eczema, and vitiligo. 

What are the advantages of NB-UVB over PUVA Therapy?

The PUVA (Psoralen & Ultraviolet A) or photochemotherapy involves taking psoralen pills and exposure of skin to Ultraviolet A light. The main drawback of the PUVA system is that it has various side effects which makes it unbearable for many patients. Patients using the PUVA system have to wear sun-protective glasses even after the treatment to avoid exposure to sunlight.

The side effects associated with the psoralen tablets make patients leave the treatment before completing it. Some patients experience disturbance in vision, cataract development, and increased risk of aging and skin darkening. Long-term PUVA treatments may also result in skin cancer. On the other hand, NB-UVB phototherapy has no such side effects, and it is safe and effective.

Instructions to follow before starting NB-UVB Treatment

1.    Follow regular instructions given by your dermatologist.
2.    Before treatment, inform your doctor and his staff about your health problems, including eye diseases.
3.    Also, inform your doctor if you are taking any medications.
4.    Do not apply any ointments or cosmetics (especially perfumes and coal-tar products) except as directed by your doctor or UVB specialists.



How does an Excimer Laser Lamp work?

The EX-308 excimer laser creates a concentrated, but painless beam of ultraviolet light that is delivered to Psoriatic lesions & Vitiligo lesion through a hand piece. By targeting only active lesions and limiting its exposure, the laser delivers high-dose treatment for fast clearing and long remission.

Which skin conditions can be treated with Excimer Laser?

The laser is ideal for treating mild to moderate Psoriasis & Vitiligo for less than 10% body surface and Alopecia Areata. Traditionally, the hard-to-treat areas such as knees, elbows, and scalp can be easily treated. Thanks to the laser’s aiming beam and adjustable spot size hand piece, the targeted high-dose therapy can treat stubborn plagues, even those that have not responded to other treatments. 

How is this treatment compared to other Psoriasis treatments?

Unlike topical creams and gels, laser treatment does not require any daily maintenance. Each patient is unique, but some patients enjoy long-lasting, treatment-free remission.

How safe is this treatment?

The Excimer laser has fewer side effects than other common Psoriasis & Vitiligo treatments. Due to the targeted nature of laser therapy, the exposure is limited only to affected areas.

What you can expect during this treatment?

Treatment will take place in your doctor’s clinic. First of all, your doctor will determine the best dosage level for you. Then, the doctor will give you the laser therapy, most treatment sessions take only a few minutes.

Does this treatment hurt?

Most patients experience no pain or discomfort. However, some of them may feel slight warmth shortly after the treatment which is mild and short-lived. Moreover, no anaesthesia is needed while the treatment is being carried out.

How many sessions are required?

The doctor will suggest a customized course of therapy, based on the extent, thickness, and location of the lesions. If Vitiligo after 20 sessions and Psoriasis or Alopecia after 10 sessions, does not respond, then the sessions need to be discontinued.

How do I need to prepare for the treatment?

No extensive preparation is required for the laser therapy. Just ensure that the area of the skin to be treated is clean, dry, and free of any make-up, lotions, or creams containing SPF protection.

Are there any side effects?

The side effects of laser therapy are minimal and most patients report no side effects. However, a few patients report mild and short-lived redness in the treated areas. More serious side effects such as blistering and hyper-pigmentation are rare and short-lived.