One million Italians suffer from Vitiligo. It is a skin disease that, by reducing the production of melanin, has white spots in certain areas of the body. In this article we will tell you about how to cure Vitiligo with UVB.
The use of UVB to treat Vitiligo
Research conducted by several international studies has shown how UVB rays can be useful for treating Vitiligo.
According to some recent data, a very high percentage of patients have recovered completely. This happened because UVB, richer in energy than UVA, were used with a concentration of 80% through selective and targeted micro phototherapy.
It is a system that allows you to concentrate the energy of UVB only in the affected area of Vitiligo.
The treatment at the beginning of therapy is intensive. Then, based on the response of the skin, it is decided how to proceed. Don’t be in a hurry. In fact, the results are not immediate.
How do UVBs work?
Selective and targeted micro phototherapy is based on the emission of a thin beam with a high concentration of UVB. Such radiation induces the production of new melanocytes.
The areas affected by Vitiligo are usually the arms, hands, face, elbows and knees. But the inner region of the lips, eyes and genitals may also be affected. And not only. Hair are also likely to lighten.
The triggering cause of Vitiligo is often related to episodes of emotional stress. But it can also appear suddenly after trauma, injuries and falls.
The precise mechanisms that cause this depigmentation are not yet known. An autoimmune genesis has been hypothesized. That is, a reaction of the organism against its own melanocytes. They are cells located in the deepest area of the epidermis and responsible for the production of melanin.
In fact it is the melanin that gives color to the skin. It is produced abundantly through exposure to sunlight. For this reason, sun exposure can act on melanocytes. Doing so can solve some cases of Vitiligo. However, the cure rate does not exceed 5%.
Among the wavelengths that make up solar radiation, UVBs are the ones that can most stimulate melanocytes to produce melanin. Speaking of wavelengths we could mention others. Such as, for example, infrared and ultraviolet rays of type A, B and C.
How does targeted micro phototherapy work?
UVBs have a higher energy capacity than UVAs and perhaps for this reason they have been discredited in the past.
The action of UVB is exhausted in the epidermis. So in the most superficial part of the skin where the melanocytes are found. And it does not penetrate the dermis as it does for UVA rays.
The sophisticated equipment that uses ultraviolet rays with a high concentration of a UVB is selective and targeted micro phototherapy. It differs from traditional “total body” lamps which emit radiation all over the body and which contain 80% UVA and 20% UVB. In fact, with this device, the energy is concentrated only in the area affected by Vitiligo.
This is thanks to a particular device that allows you to channel high concentrations of a UVB into a point light beam (3-4 mm in diameter) in order to concentrate all the energy potential in a very narrow skin area, not exceeding 7-12 mm².
The irradiation can be continuous or pulsating. Furthermore, the intensity may differ depending on the skin phototype and the extent of the blemish.
This guarantees evident advantages and allows to act in a targeted way on the spots and to personalize the therapy. It is no coincidence that we talk about targeted micro-phototherapy.
With this technique, cases of indirect re-pigmentation are not rare, even in skin regions distant from those treated.
The activation of melanocytes, and therefore the benefits of the treatment, can in fact be extended to the surrounding areas. In addition, parts of the epidermis potentially at risk can be stimulated.
How to identify them?
Thanks to the use of a particular fluorescent light – WOOD light – with which the equipment is equipped, an altered pigmentation of the melanocytes, even of very small dimensions, is highlighted in real time.
With the same light, another test can be performed that allows you to view the patches over the entire body surface.
The results of UVB treatment to cure Vitiligo
The results require a variable period of time on a case-by-case basis. The improvements in the coloring of the patches can be seen after a few months. But after a few sessions, the positive response of the skin can already be assessed.
The protocol provides for an intensive treatment with more sessions based on the response of the skin. You can then postpone the treatments over the following months.
The only drawback is a possible erythema that resolves in a few months. It can therefore be used in children, the elderly and has no contraindications in pregnancy.