Leukoderma is an auto-immune-related skin disorder where the skin loses its pigment – melanin and becomes white in color. It is commonly known as Vitiligo appearing as white patches or spots on the skin.
Topical corticosteroids are one of the treatment methods that reduce inflammation and promote affected skin areas’ depigmentation. Calcineurin inhibitors and vitamin D analogs are also considered for treatment for the re-pigmentation purpose of the affected skin areas.
For severe leukoderma cases, laser therapy or Phototherapy is considered which helps in stimulating melanin production and improving the skin colour. This phototherapy can be done at the clinic as well as at home with the help of special UV lamps.
Surgical options like skin grafting or tattooing are considered for those cases who have stopped responding to any kind of treatment. These procedures help in the restoration of the affected areas.
One must understand that auto-immune-related skin conditions can be only managed and complete restoration of normal skin colour is not possible. These treatments can only improve the skin’s appearance or try to reduce the pigmentation between the affected and unaffected skin areas. Healthcare providers will also discuss the risk and benefits of each treatment before starting the appropriate treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Leukoderma, also known as vitiligo, is a skin condition in which there is a loss of pigment resulting in white patches or spots on the skin. It occurs when the melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) in the skin are destroyed or stop functioning.
A. Leukoderma cannot be cured as it is an auto-immune-related skin disorder that can be managed like a lifestyle disease. Many types of treatments are available for improving the skin’s appearance and confine its spread
A. Leukoderma is treated in multiple ways as mentioned below –
- Topical corticosteroid
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors
- Laser therapy (Excimer)
A. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medications that reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system simultaneously. When this medication is applied over the affected skin, it reduces the severity of leukoderma by depigmentation.
A. Calcineurin inhibitors are topical anti-inflammatory treatments that inhibit the immune response in the skin. This treatment is also effective in combination with other treatments too when applied directly over the affected skin.
A. PUVA – a combination of phototherapy with photochemotherapy is considered for widespread leukoderma cases. Re-pigmentation induced by PUVA happens due to multiple actions like – the production of melanin pigment, and the activation of growth factors but need to be given for a long time for maintaining their effectiveness.
A. Excimer laser therapy is a treatment where high-intensity ultraviolet B (UVB) is focused on the affected skin area. This treatment is intended to stimulate the production of the skin pigment – melanin in the affected skin area.
A. Depigmentation is a treatment process where the cream is applied over a target skin area for the removal of skin pigment – melanin which is responsible for the skin colour. The purpose of this treatment is to achieve a uniform skin tone. The creams containing the chemical – monobenzone are applied to the non-leukoderma area or unaffected skin area for depigmentation.
A. Generally any kind of treatment carries some potential of side effects. Healthcare providers discuss the risk and benefits of the treatment with patients. Similarly, the commonly seen side effects of the leukoderma treatment are skin irritation, itching, burning, or increased sensitivity to sunlight (Photophobia). One needs to keep proper monitoring of the skin carefully as some treatments can induce risk of skin cancer.