An increasing number of studies claim that light therapy is one of the most effective vitiligo treatments. Light therapy is a broad name for several skin treatments that employ light in some way.
The practice can restore your skin or even out your skin tone, though the results vary and sometimes are unpredictable. Only a professional doctor can increase the chances of better results. In fact, the practice is safe and effective when performed by an expert.
What is Light Therapy?
Light therapy or phototherapy was introduced a few decades ago as a treatment for vitiligo. The process involves concentrating filtered UV or ultraviolet light on the affected skin areas. The UV light triggers the production of melanocytes (cells responsible for the manufacture of pigment) which brings the original color back to the skin.
Also, light therapy can activate the production of vitamin D in the body, resulting in re-pigmentation.
Results of light therapy are not permanent. Thus you will require multiple sessions in order to get the desired outcomes. Approximately 2-3 sessions per week for at least 50 sessions can yield better results. The time it takes to notice light therapy results varies based on how much of your body is affected by vitiligo, along with how long you have had the condition.
Usually, it takes about 2-3 months to see results after consistent treatment.
Is Light Therapy for Vitiligo Safe?
Worried that light therapy for vitiligo is harmful to your skin? Do not be! The practice is so safe that both children and adults can receive the treatment. There is no need to worry about any harmful effects of UV radiation because the light is filtered and only concentrated on the affected areas. Most dermatologists cover other body parts that are not being treated for extra precautionary measures.
You might experience light therapy side effects like redness, swelling, itching, or very dry skin, but in very rare cases. These side effects usually disappear within a few hours after treatment.
For individuals who might not get a chance to visit their doctor for treatment, there are smaller portable, handheld devices for phototherapy available for home use. Consult your physician to know whether this option is necessary. It is always best to visit your dermatologist to determine the best treatment course for your condition.
Combining Light Therapy and Psoralen
This treatment combines light therapy (photochemotherapy) with a plant-derived substance called psoralen to restore color to the white patches. After you orally consume psoralen or apply it to the affected parts of the skin, you get exposed to ultraviolet light.
Even though effective, this treatment approach is more challenging to administer and has been replaced in most practices by the narrow band UV B therapy.
Depigmentation (Removing the Remaining Color)
Depigmentation might be the best therapy option if vitiligo has spread over a large area of your body and other treatments have not worked. During the removal of the remaining color, a depigmenting agent is applied to the unaffected parts of skin. This gradually lightens your skin so that it perfectly blends with the discolored areas.
Depending on the level of your vitiligo, depigmentation can be done once or twice a day for 9 months or longer.
Surgery is the next option when light therapy and other medications have not worked. That said, not everybody is eligible for surgery – only individuals with stable disease might be candidates for surgery. Some of the techniques used to even out the skin tone include:
- Skin grafting – During this procedure, the doctor transfers very small portions of your healthy, pigmented skin to the affected areas. It is applicable when you have small vitiligo patches.
- Blister grafting – In this treatment approach, the doctor creates blisters on the pigmented areas of your skin, usually with suction, then transplants the tops of those blisters to discolored skin.
- Cellular suspension transplant – In this procedure, the doctor takes a number of tissues on the pigmented skin, puts the cells into a solution then transplants them onto the affected areas. The results might show up within 4 weeks.
BREAKING: Maverick Vitiligo Researcher Claims to Have Discovered The Real Cause of Vitiligo
David Paltrow, an unconventional vitiligo researcher, has recently hit the news with his claim that he has discovered the real cause of vitiligo…according to him, it has nothing to do with melanin.
He is also claiming that by targeting this underlying cause, he is able to cure vitiligo in 45 days flat.
Check out his video presentation below: