What are the best methods to camouflage white patches of skin and depigmentation due to vitiligo?

White patches can appear on the skin for multiple reasons, and not just because of Vitiligo. Most commonly, it can be caused by fungal infections like Pityriasis Alba and Tinea Versicolor. We see these white patches on the faces of children, and it can also appear on the affected body parts in adults and teenagers. With Tinea Versicolor, the white patches can be accompanied by symptoms such as itching and scaling. Fungal microorganisms such as Malassezia furfur can be isolated. As with most medical conditions, the strategy is to treat the cause and not to cover up the white patches.

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Answered By

Dr Mun Heng Lee

Aesthetic

Do any foods cause vitiligo?

Hello, This is a commonly asked question I face from many of my patients, and the answer is always the same. No, there are no foods that have been found to cause vitiligo. Within the Southeast Asian region, it is a common belief that diet plays a role in the development of the condition. However, the truth is that to date, there is a lack of sufficient evidence to prove that there are any foods linked with the development of vitiligo. I hope that this answers the question.

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Answered By

Dr Christopher Lim

General Practitioner

Are there any differences in treatment options for small vitiligo patches versus large vitiligo patches?

For the treatment of vitiligo, topical treatment with steroids or calcineurin inhibitors is the first-line treatment. For small areas of vitiligo, topical treatment is a good option. If the area of involvement is larger, it is much more difficult to apply the creams. Phototherapy is also a good option for vitiligo. It can be delivered to a small area i. e. localized phototherapy or to the whole body. For extensive vitiligo, full-body phototherapy will be a good option.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

Why do I get itchy vitiligo patches that become bigger when I scratch?

Hello and thank you for your question. Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that is due to a patient’s own immune system attacking their own pigment producing cells, resulting in white patches forming. Vitiligo is usually asymptomatic but can sometimes by itchy. Also it exhibits an interesting phenomenon called “Koebner’s phenomenon” where scratching or injuring neighbouring normal skin can lead to vitiligo patches appearing in them. Do see a Dermatologist for help with treatment of your vitiligo patches. Topical creams, light therapy or even cellular grafting can be helpful.

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Answered By

Dr Stephanie Ho

Dermatologist

Where can I get a phototherapy narrow band machine for personal use to manage vitiligo in Singapore and how much do they cost?

Phototherapy is a good treatment option for vitiligo. It is important for you to see your dermatologist before purchasing a machine for a proper assessment. When undergoing phototherapy, there is a treatment regime in the delivery of phototherapy to optimise the effectiveness of the treatment and minimize the side effects such as burns. Your doctor will be able to advice you on this. There are also localized hand held phototherapy devices for small areas of vitiligo and larger half or full body machines for large areas of vitiligo. The cost depends on the type of machines.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

Is there a cure for vitiligo in Singapore?

Hello, This is perhaps the most common question which I face on a regular basis. Strictly speaking, there is no cure for vitiligo at the moment. This is because there is a non-zero chance of recurrence of the condition which persists in spite of treatment which is difficult to predict. There are, however, viable treatment options available to patients. Depending on the extent of vitiligo and the areas affected, patients can achieve reasonable degrees of repigmentation over time. The main keys to achieving results are a combination of adherence to therapy and patience.

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Answered By

Dr Christopher Lim

General Practitioner

What are the causes and symptoms of vitiligo?

Hi, thanks for the question. Normally, the color of hair and skin is determined by melanin. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. There are treatments for vitiligo that may restore color to the affected skin. But it does not prevent continued loss of skin color or a recurrence. The main sign of vitiligo is patchy loss of skin color.

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Answered By

Dr Vivian Yong

Aesthetic

How does vitiligo treatment differ according to the body part that it affects?

Hello, The treatment duration, as well as treatment options, may vary slightly depending on the area affected by vitiligo. The treatment of vitiligo tends to follow a few general principles and chiefly depends on phototherapy in order to achieve repigmentation. At the same time, it is well established that certain areas of the body respond differently to phototherapy, with the face and neck regions being the most responsive, and the fingers and toes being the least responsive.

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Answered By

Dr Christopher Lim

General Practitioner

What are possible triggers of vitiligo?

Hello, This is a great question! In the process of research aimed at identifying the underlying cause for vitiligo, scientists have postulated that vitiligo can be triggered by stress to the pigment producing cells of the skin. Some potential vitiligo triggers have been identified: Genetic susceptibility Sunburn Mechanical trauma (e. g. friction, cuts) Chemical exposure Low mood / Abnormal emotional stress Some of my patients have found that after one or a combination of the above-mentioned triggers, they began to notice progressive depigmentation occurring on their skin.

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Answered By

Dr Christopher Lim

General Practitioner

Is vitiligo a fatal condition?

In a word, no. Vitiligo is definitely not fatal. The condition is not life-threatening. At most, people with the condition may experience a mild itch over the affected skin. However, for the most part, vitiligo rarely presents with any itch or pain. The largest source of harm from vitiligo comes from general ignorance and lack of knowledge with respect to the condition. The resultant social stigmas attached to vitiligo cause far-reaching effects on people's confidence and general well-being.

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Answered By

Dr Christopher Lim

General Practitioner

How does phototherapy for vitiligo work?

Hello, Phototherapy is a large umbrella term for the use of ultraviolet (UV) light for the purpose of treating skin conditions. There are a number of different applications for phototherapy (especially in different skin conditions) and it stands as one of the bread-and-butter techniques for treatment of vitiligo beyond the use of topicals. In vitiligo, the patient's skin has undergone an autoimmune-mediated destruction of pigment-producing cells. The role of phototherapy is to: stabilise the skin condition and stimulate the remaining melanocytes for purposes of repigmentation.

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Answered By

Dr Christopher Lim

General Practitioner

What are the effects of stress on vitiligo?

What is vitiligo? It is classically considered to be a silent pigmentary disorder with few or no symptoms. With no pigment, the skin is extremely susceptible to burning. Prior studies have demonstrated that one-third of vitiligo patients report skin symptoms (e. g. pruritus, burning), which may be specifically associated with early-onset disease. Some vitiligo patients report abdominal cramping associated with their disease. An estimated 45 million people worldwide suffer vitiligo; at least one in 100 British adults is affected.

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Answered By

Dr Beng Yeong Ng

Psychiatrist

What are the best methods to treat vitiligo at my lips?

Vitiligo is a condition which is due to the loss of melanocytes or pigment cells in the skin. This leads to the skin appearing white or depigmented. Vitiligo can affect the skin and oral mucosa and the lip is an area that is not uncommonly affected. Simple protective measure like using a lip balm with SPF may be helpful to protect the lip from the sun. Indeed, the loss of pigment can reduce the natural protection of the lips from the sun. Topical steroids can be used to help in the re-pigmentation of the lips.

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Answered By

Dr Colin Theng

Dermatologist

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