- by Dr Vivekananda Bhat
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- Feb 09 2017
White patches on face-Vitiligo
White patches on face may lead to a flurry of reasons for the patients to worry about. It can affect self confidence, looks and social life of the person facing it. Without a proper diagnosis, there can be many underlying causes for the white patches to appear.
One such skin pigmentation disorder that affects around a million people per year in India is Vitiligo.
A person having Vitiligo will notice loss of skin colour in blotches on the body. Usually the blotches occur on both sides of the body and can affect any part that has skin pigment(melanin) like hair, face, legs, eyes and even inside the mouth. It is seen that white patches occur more on parts exposed to the sun. The severity and rate of pigment loss varies from person to person and cannot be predicted. On noticing white patches on the body or face, a medical diagnosis can help in determining the cause as Vitiligo and present treatment options available for the patient.
Causes of Vitiligo
What really causes Vitiligo is not known to medical science. Some experts believe it’s an autoimmune disorder, where the patient’s immune system attacks his own body, destroying the skin pigment cells called melanocytes. Others believe that it can be caused by stress, sunburns and may even run in families.
Who are at risk?
Although it can occur to a person of any age, any gender or race, patients in their twenties represent more cases, with dark skinned people leading the chart as probably it is more noticeable in them. There is a chance of people with certain other autoimmune diseases to more likely develop Vitiligo, but there are no well-established scientific grounds on which the reason can be placed.
White patches on face, treatment and cost
Other than the white patches, there are no other symptoms or pain related to Vitiligo. A person diagnosed with Vitiligo can face emotional stress and altered quality of live as it is incurable and affects physical appearance, but the disease is not life threatening or contagious.
Patients with white patches that show on face are far more concerned due to visible prominence and hence it becomes important to seek medical treatment and solutions to cope with Vitiligo.
Treatment of Vitiligo on face
The treatment for Vitiligo is targeted towards restoring the colour of the patches. Choice of treatment depends on factors like location, size and numbers of white patches on the face.
Although there is no set standard for treating Vitiligo and not every treatment option will show the same result in different patients, patients seek a treatment that gives long-term solutions with minimum side effects for a better appearance of the face.
Medical treatment options include – skin creams, oral medicine, treatment using Ultraviolet A(UVA) light(PUVA), decolouration of surrounding skin area and surgical options like skin grafting.
The cost of each treatment varies as treatment options like surgery and UVA are more expensive compared to skin creams and medicine. Many patients often combine different therapies for better results.
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