Vitiligo is a harmless whitening of skin and hair. The condition mainly occurs in the following places:
- face (mainly around the eyes and mouth)
- belly button
- pubic area
- elbows, knees, fingers, wrists, backs of the hands, backs of the feet, lower legs
The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown. There are, however, many theories that are the subject of much research. At the moment, the most likely cause of vitiligo is a familial autoimmune disease. This causes the immune system to attack the body’s own tissue. Heredity can also play a role.
Vitiligo can develop in people of any age or skin color. On average, the first white discolourations start around the age of 20. However, it is also possible that white discolouration is present shortly after birth.
When and how quickly the vitiligo spreads varies from person to person. It is known that damage to the skin, such as a scrape or burn, can lead to a new whitening. This is called the “köbner phenomenon”.
Treatment is not necessary and often does not give a full recovery. Examples of treatment are:
- hormone creams (corticosteroids)
- light therapy (PUVA and UVB)
- skin grafts
- bleaching the skin with creams (when there is still little “healthy skin” present, it is sometimes chosen to bleach the other skin for an even effect)
- camouflage therapy
Good sun protection is necessary due to the lack of pigment in the skin. Pigment is normally the natural protection of our skin. When this is missing, the skin will burn in a very short time, and the chance of developing skin cancer is greater. It is therefore essential to use sun protection of at least factor 30 every day!
How can you treat Vitiligo?
The skin therapist will often recommend camouflage therapy using very good covering camouflage cream. The most suitable camouflage products are examined with you. Then, by determining the color, the final camouflage color will be determined that most closely matches your own skin color.
Reimbursement by health insurers
Camouflage therapy is (partly) reimbursed by most insurance companies. Ask your skin therapist for advice if you are unsure whether a certain treatment is reimbursed.