Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that alters skin pigmentation. It affects about one million Italians. The disease is neither serious nor contagious and is treatable.
In some cases it can be reduced until it almost disappears, regaining the re-pigmentation.
What is re-pigmentation
Once Vitiligo is treated, the pigment returns, thus reversing the disease.
The inversion of the disease means that the skin, instead of depigmentation, returns to take on color.
The repigmentation of vitiligo depends on the available melanocytes.
There are three types of sources:
- hair follicle
- from the border of vitiligo lesions
- from unaffected melanocytes within the depigmented areas
The treatment and cure of vitiligo aims to stop the progression of the disease and to induce re-pigmentation, obtaining an acceptable aesthetic result.
Repigmentation is usually a slow process that usually requires at least 6-12 months of treatment with conventional modalities
If there are pigmented hair follicles within the spots where you are treating, after about 3 months of treatment you may notice small brown spots appearing around each hair.
For this reason we call this perifollicular re-pigmentation.
The hair follicle which is the main supplier of pigment cells.
This is the best model for reversing the disease because each small brown spot grows over time, running to the other spots and completely filling the previous white spot.
This pattern is sometimes seen even when someone does not intentionally treat Vitiligo,
such as in areas of the skin exposed to the sun.
Patients are often unsure whether it is pigment returning, or just pigment left over when the white spot has spread around it.
In hairless areas, the perifollicular pattern does not respond well. Then the marginal re-pigmentation model is used.
The pattern of is used when the edges of the white spot creep in, reducing the entire spot by a few millimeters.