Vitiligo is one of the most frustrating skin conditions to grapple with. It essentially means that your auto-immune system begins to attack the cells in your body that produce pigment. It means your skin turns paper white, and it can be particularly noticeable for dark-skinned people. In fact, some time ago, Indian people with vitiligo were shunned because paper white skin was previously associated with leprosy. The hardest thing to deal with is the fact that there is no hard and fast cure for the condition, meaning that as a dermatologist, I often struggle to suggest the best course of action,
However, at the annual meeting of the Pacific Dermatologic Association, Dr. Sancy A. Leachman offered up a list of exciting new treatments for vitiligo - I’m particularly excited about number one.
10. Ultraviolet A1 (UVA1) phototherapy
Trials are in effect to see if UV therapy can recreate pigmentation within vitiligo patches.
9. Ginkgo biloba
Could using 40-60mg of ginko biloba 2-3 times a day (10 minutes before eating) make a difference? Give it a shot.
8. Red light
Trials assessing whether exposing vitiligo patches to red light are underway, and we’re looking forward to the results of the assessments.
Using heat and slight vacuum pressure, good skin tissue is collected to transplant onto vitiligo patches.
6. The ReCell device
This device helps create good skin tissue using a small sample of the patient’s skin. It’s safety and usefulness is still being tested, but it could help stabilize vitiligo.
5. Topical Photocil
Activated by sunlight, this cream will administer UVB light only on the spot it’s applied to. Isn’t that incredible?
Similar to a powerful hormone, combining it with UVCB therapy has resulted in faster and better repigmentation.
3. Abatacept (Orencia)
Injecting this protein could lead to improvements in vitiligo lesions, but trials are underway to determine how effective it could be.
By inhibiting cells responsible for vitiligo, using this drug could help improve the condition.
This drug is very new and has already proven to be incredibly effective, from my personal experience. Given that it is commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis, I can see a greater relationship between dermatologists and rheumatologists developing, as they converse on who should take this drug. At my practice, we’re thrilled to offer it as a treatment option, given that we were only using steroids previously.
All these treatments are incredibly exciting, but they aren’t all readily available. In addition, bear in mind that your insurance may not cover all of them. But the bottom line remains that there are so many new options available to you now, and you should take advantage of them.