Vitiligo is a skin disorder in which melanocytes – the cells that make pigment – are destroyed. As a result, patches of depigmented, white skin appear, typically on the areas of the body with the most sun exposure. However, the white patches can appear on other areas of the body as well.
Patients with Vitiligo will have one of three patterns of depigmented skin:
• White patches that appear symmetrically on each side of the body. This is the most common pattern.
• White patches on one side of the body only.
• One to a few white patches in a localized area of the body.
Treatments include various anti-inflammatory creams (goal = stop the “attack” on the pigment cells) and ultraviolet light therapy (goal = stimulate pigment production to start again.) One common cream we use is tacrolimus ointment. There are also various small studies showing one vitamin or another to be helpful, but the results are inconsistent and the small studies don’t allow for any statistically valid conclusions to be made.