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Vitiligo Specialist

James H. Petrin, MD -  - Board Certified Dermatologist

Petrin Dermatology

James H. Petrin, MD

Board Certified Dermatologist located in Redmond, WA

If you’re starting to see permanent white blotches on your skin, you might have vitiligo. While your skin may never look the same as it once did, you can reduce some of the blotches with treatments from James Petrin, MD, and his team at Petrin Dermatology in Redmond Washington. For a more even skin tone after vitiligo, call Petrin Dermatology or book an appointment online today.

Vitiligo

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin disease characterized by the loss of skin pigment in blotches. If your skin starts to lose its color on any part of your body, you might have the condition. It’s impossible to predict the rate at which your skin will lose its color and how much of your body the condition will affect. 


You develop vitiligo when the cells in your skin that produce melanin, a skin pigment, start to die. While you can get the condition regardless of your gender or skin color, people with a darker natural skin tone tend to notice the effects more than people with lighter skin. Since there’s no cure, treatments focus on making your skin tone appear more even.

What are some complications of vitiligo?

Vitiligo itself only causes changes in the pigment of your skin, but there are a few potential complications that can come with a vitiligo diagnosis. If you have vitiligo, you’re also at an increased risk of developing these other conditions and health complications:


  • Sunburns
  • Skin cancer
  • Eye inflammation
  • Hearing loss
  • Other autoimmune conditions, like diabetes or Addison’s disease
  • Social stress and low self-esteem


Having noticeable skin discoloration because of vitiligo can cause embarrassment and self-consciousness, which is why many patients choose to seek treatments that restore their skin tone.

What are my treatment options for vitiligo?

Any white patches that already developed on your skin from vitiligo are there permanently, but there are treatments to help make them less noticeable and restore some of the pigment to the areas. It’s difficult to predict the outcome of your treatment, but your provider at Petrin Dermatology can help you choose a treatment with as few side effects as possible. 


Your provider may first suggest that you try covering the patches with makeup or self-tanner if you can find a color match. Other available treatments include:

Corticosteroid creams

Corticosteroid creams are most effective in treating vitiligo during its early stages. They may help return some of the pigment to your skin, but they can make your skin thinner and cause stretch marks the more you use them.

Medications for your immune system

Your provider may prescribe certain topical medications that affect your immune functioning to slow the effects of vitiligo, especially if it’s concentrated in small areas.

Depigmentation

If your vitiligo is already widespread, you can even out your skin tone by using a depigmenting agent on the areas that still have their color. You must use the treatment once or twice a day for months, which can cause skin irritation and dryness. 

To explore your treatment options for vitiligo and enjoy a more even skin tone, call Petrin Dermatology or book an appointment online today.