Changes in skin pigmentation can occur at any age, but with vitiligo, most people affected by it first see it in their 20s. With no proven cause, vitiligo is considered to be connected to autoimmune diseases. Vitiligo appears as white patches of skin where the pigment cells have been destroyed. Like psoriasis, where the immune system causes overgrowth of skin cells, in vitiligo, the immune system may be destroying the melanocytes in the skin. The question of whether this is triggered by some external source, or part of one’s genetic makeup is still unknown. That it tends to run in families does point to a genetic connection.
Vitiligo is known to affect all peoples, male or female and is by its nature more noticeable in people with darker skin. There are scientists studying the effects of emotional stresses and physical stresses like sunburn and their relationship to vitiligo. Skin areas most exposed to the sun also are the most common areas for the white patches of vitiligo. The face, arms and hands are the most common areas affected, but skin areas not generally exposed to sunlight like the inside of the mouth, the genitals, navel and rectal areas may also be affected. People with vitiligo are more likely to have gray hair at a younger age. Vitiligo progresses differently from person to person. In some it will not spread much from it’s initial appearance, while in others there is a slow spread and still others may experience a very quick spread of white patches over their bodies.
Dr. Flood will need to do a full health history on you and discuss your family’s history with questions about autoimmune diseases. He will look for areas in your life with excess stress, or certain physical illnesses and sensitivities, and may take a small biopsy of affected skin along with drawing blood for testing. Vitiligo is an irreversible skin disorder but treatments are many, ranging from topical to oral medications, tattooing or bleaching skin to match the color, and surgical grafts from a person’s own tissues. Narrowband UVB light therapy may also be recommended along with topical agents. See Dr. Flood in his Washington DC dermatological office to discuss your options in treating vitiligo.
Dr. Allen A. Flood takes the following insurance options and many more. If you do not see your insurance listed here, please feel free to contact our office, and our staff will be able to assist you.
"Dr Flood knows dermatology and can quickly diagnose your problem and prescribe the proper methods and medicines to help remedy your problem."
"I found Dr. Flood to be very knowledgeable about his subject and his treatment of my condition to be very effective."
"I walked into Dr. Flood's in the midst of a horrible breakout... and within a week it was clear and my skin has been clear for years now. I can't recommend him enough."
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