Leucoderma Treatment

Leucoderma Treatments
Before we go into the Leucoderma treatment options we should take an overview of leucoderma or as it is more commonly known in the west, vitiligo. Leucoderma is a chronic skin disorder where the skin develops white pale patches in random locations. These marks are small at the start but may increase in size and number with time. The skin is colored by pigments called as melanin.
Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes and melanocytes are located in the upper layer of the skin called as epidermis. In leucoderma, the melanocytes stop functioning and melanin productions in patches of skin halts creating white patches. These patches not only alter the physical appearance of the patients but they result in severe depression and mood disorders. The age bracket during which leucoderma may appear is between 10-30 yrs. Patients usually suffer from this disease at an early age and thus a complex rises in them and this slows down their progress. About 0.5% to 2% of the world's population suffer from leucoderma and as yet no cure is known to completely get rid of leucoderma. Infact, as yet, even after research, the reason of leucoderma is unknown. Scientists agree upon the fact that melanocytes stop producing melanin but there are different theories suggested as to why that happens. The disease can be hereditary or non-hereditary. The most supported theory suggests that our bodies self defense mechanism goes on overdrive and recognizes the melanocytes as foreign bodies and attacks them. Another popular theory is that the melanocytes are defected from birth. There are several more theories discussed in other articles but as said earlier, none have been proven beyond doubt.

Leucoderma treatments are few in number and very inefficient. This is the reason most patients go on with their lives without opting to cure leucoderma and instead use make up and colored creams to hide the patches. Makeup may hide the white skin patches but they do not cure them. Here we have listed a few treatments available.

Steroid Creams
Steroids Leucoderma treatments affect the body by stopping the immune system. By stopping the immune system, the steroid creams prevent the anti bodies in our blood to attack melanocytes. This lets the melanocytes resume melanin production and the skin gains color again. Steroid creams however are also very temporary. Steroid creams can't be used for prolonged periods of time because they cause permanent thinning of skin in applied areas and also cause stretch marks to appear. And once the use of steroid creams is stopped, in a majority of the cases, remission occurs, which means the patches appear again. Steroids also leave the skin more susceptible to germs and bacteria.
UV Therapy
In UV therapy Leucoderma treatments, or reversal of leucoderma, Oral medicines are combined with long time exposure to UV (ultra violet) rays so as to stimulate the melanocytes to produce melanin. Medicines maybe taken orally at home but to expose the patient to UV light, special UV ray sessions have to be taken at hospitals. These are time consuming and the therapy itself is very expensive and unaffordable for most patients. The side affects of UV ray are very painful as well, ranging from sun burns to skin freckling. This therapy is not available everywhere.

Complete De-Pigmentation
For patients with wide scale de-pigmentation, it is easier to completely de pigment the skin rather than attempt to pigment the white patches as a Leucoderma treatment. In other words, the white patches are so big and cover up so much area of the body that it is easier to completely whiten the skin. The time required to complete such a procedure can be around a year and this requires medicine to be rubbed on the skin. After the therapy, the skin becomes very sensitive and has to be protected from direct sunlight for the rest of the patients life. This is advisable only in severe cases.
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