Undergoing vitiligo treatment at our NYC office can help restore a clear, even skin tone. Vitiligo can make you self-conscious or uncomfortable in general, especially when wearing short sleeves, a bathing suit, or any article of clothing that leaves parts of your skin affected by vitiligo exposed. Our dermatologists combine advances in laser therapy and years of professional experience to approach each patient on an individual level. After looking at your individual needs, medical requirements, and case of vitiligo, our dermatologists will sit down with you to create a regimen that will most effectively leave you with clear, glowing skin.

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a disorder that is characterized by white patches of skin that can appear on any part of the body. These white patches occur after the destruction of your melanocyte cells. Melanocyte cells are what make the pigment in your skin, which gives it its natural glow. If these cells are damaged or destroyed, your skin will turn pale and white, as in the case of vitiligo. The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, but our dermatologists are committed to constantly implementing the most up-to-date technology to best treat patients with vitiligo. Vitiligo occurs on your body, but, in some cases, it can affect the eyes, as well. To test for vitiligo, our dermatologists may perform an eye exam, order a blood test, or, in some cases, perform a small biopsy.

Vitiligo affects men and women with the same frequency, and it can occur within a patient at any age. The cause of vitiligo may also be genetic, and you may be more likely to have vitiligo if one or both of your parents experience or experienced vitiligo. The first and most obvious sign of vitiligo is the formation of white blotches on your skin. These white patches occur more on parts of the body that have directly and frequently been exposed to the sun. Patients with vitiligo are also more likely to experience a graying or whitening of hair earlier in life. Some patients also may experience the whitening of their gum and mouth tissue or their eyes.

There are three main categories of vitiligo, and they depend upon the severity and frequency of white patches on your skin. First, localized vitiligo is when only one or two parts of your body are affected, and there is only a cluster of white patches in one location. Secondly, segmental vitiligo is categorized by only one side of your body being affected. This kind of vitiligo occurs more frequently at a younger age. Finally, generalized vitiligo is the most common kind of vitiligo, and it is denoted by widespread white patches that progress similarly throughout your body.

Types of Vitiligo
Localized Vitiligo When only one or two parts of the body are affected by a small cluster of white patches in one location.
Segmental Vitiligo One or more white patches forming on one side or segment of the body. Occurs more often at younger ages.
Generalized Vitiligo When white patches of skin form generally over the skin. The most common and frequently occurring form of vitiligo.

What topical vitiligo treatments are there?

The treatment of vitiligo varies with each individual and is largely dependent on your individual case. Some treatments may be effective for a large portion of patients. Topical vitiligo treatments include ointments, gels, or creams that are applied directly to the affected areas of your skin where vitiligo has caused whitening or discoloration. These topical vitiligo treatments can help even out your skin tone and restore your natural coloring. Depending on your particular medical needs and case of vitiligo, our dermatologists can help prescribe the most effective ointment, gel, or cream that will have the most successful effects for your skin. In some cases, our dermatologists may even prescribe you medication to be taken by mouth that will help your damaged skin cells to repair, leaving your skin with a more even tone.

How can laser vitiligo treatments help?

Laser vitiligo treatments, also known as phototherapy treatments, use ultraviolet light or an excimer laser to help remove the white patches on your skin. Therapies such as XTRAC® light treatments, Narrowband UVB, and PUVA are vitiligo treatments that utilize ultraviolet light to help even your skin tone and reduce the prominence of white patches. An XTRAC® laser treatment delivers a targeted beam of ultraviolet light to help even out irregular pigmentation. Larger occurrences of discoloration can be treated effectively and quickly with the FDA-approved XTRAC® excimer laser. The XTRAC® laser specifically targets the discoloration of vitiligo to deliver safe doses to yield an even, healthy skin tone.

The “UVB” in Narrowband UVB refers to the portion of the ultraviolet spectrum that is used during treatment. The “P” in PUVA stands for psoralens, which contain a chemical that reacts with ultraviolet light, and the “UVA” stands for ultraviolet light (the A refers to the spectrum of ultraviolet light). The portion of the spectrum that is utilized in these procedures is proven to stimulate the growth of skin cells, which will restore white patches caused by the deterioration of your melanocyte cells.

The use of an excimer laser is recommended for smaller cases of vitiligo, as it may be less effective on larger cases. Vitiligo laser treatment using an excimer laser tends to yield results quicker than other therapies. Vitiligo treatments with an excimer laser are usually performed two to three times a week for the best results. The particular length of treatment depends on the severity of your vitiligo and symptoms. Our dermatologists place your care above all else at Sutton Place Dermatology and are dedicated with providing you the most safe, effective experience to help you treat your vitiligo.

How can I learn more about vitiligo treatments?

Our dermatologists would be glad to discuss your vitiligo treatment and vitiligo laser treatments with you. To request a personal consultation with our dermatologists to discuss possible vitiligo treatments, please request an appointment online or call 212.838.0270.

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