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What are the treatment options for vitiligo?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Because there is no cure for vitiligo, most treatments aim to either help people adjust to having vitiligo and/or to changing skin tone so it is more even. Joining a support group or receiving counseling for depression or anxiety accompanying the vitiligo can help.

Skin treatments include:
  • Drugs in skin ointments (called topical immunomodulators). Usually, your doctor will use such ointments together with ultraviolet (UV) light treatments to darken the skin patches.
  • Photochemotherapy. In this treatment, an ointment with psoralen, a drug, is applied to your skin, and then your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UVA) light.
  • Corticosteroids. The strength of corticosteroids can be varied for people of different ages and size or spread of skin patches. These creams or ointments are used to change your skin's color.
  • UVB therapy (narrow-band). Your vitiligo patches are exposed to narrow-band UVB light.
  • Oral psoralen photochemotherapy (oral PUVA). This treatment is similar to photochemotherapy, only you take the psoralen by mouth.
  • Depigmentation. A medication called monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone (monobenzone) is applied to your skin. This treatment makes the rest of your skin lighter like the patches of vitiligo. It's permanent.
  • Skin grafts. Your own skin may be grafted on to small patches of vitiligo. Or in a different procedure, blisters are made on other pigmented sections of skin. The top of the blister is removed and transferred to the unpigmented area of skin.
  • Tattoos. Pigment is put into your skin, but it may not match your skin's color exactly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.