Live, enjoy and dare..... also with vitiligo!

Experiences with light therapy

What is light therapy?

Light therapy with UV-B rays is a commonly used treatment for vitiligo. The treatment is done in a light cabin. You can compare it to a sunbed, except you don't lie in it, you stand in it. The treatment consists of exposure to UV-B rays twice a week for one year on fixed days (and preferably times), with at least 2 days between treatments. The dosage of light varies per patient, because every skin reacts differently. The light intensity and time in the cabin are built up during the therapy. This is done on the basis of a so-called 'build-up schedule'. Read below Christina's experiences.

UV-B rays stimulate your skin to produce pigment. This does not happen within a week, but takes time and patience. The vitiligo spots react with small brown dots, as if someone has made dots in them with a felt-tip pen. After months of treatment, the many dots form a kind of colored spot. Realize that your skin will never be completely colored and that spots that have been white for a long time will color less easily. In the meantime, you evaluate the treatment with your doctor. If the treatment has little or no effect after six months, the doctor will advise you to discontinue the treatment.

In addition to exposure in the hospital, home exposure is also possible. You will then get the light cabin in your house. The dermatologist must request this and the insurer must approve it. The hospital needs a contract with the insurer for this. Knowledge of the construction schedule is necessary for optimal results.


  • Vitiligo spots may partially regain pigment.
  • Vitiligo spots temporarily do not spread.
  • 'Fresh' stains react more quickly.
  • You can feel more comfortable as your appearance recovers somewhat.
  • You can handle the sun better. After all, pigment has a protective function.


    • Not all insurers reimburse light therapy. For example, some insurers only reimburse if the vitiligo is visible on the face and hands. Therefore, check your (supplementary) policy in time.
    • This treatment is not suitable for every vitiligo patient. Your dermatologist can determine this.
    • The result is not good for everyone.
    • It can take a long time before results are seen.
    • Light therapy is a significant burden. It must fit into your life: for example, lighting may only be possible during the day if the hospital does not run an evening program.
  • Your skin can burn due to light therapy. That is why it is very important that you follow the construction schedule carefully. In the event of a burn, the skin must first recover before you undergo a new treatment.
  • After a course of treatment you must rest for a number of months, because you usually achieve the maximum effect after one year and because of the increased risk of skin damage.

Experience Christina: Light in the darkness or not?

“I have successfully completed treatment three times in a year and I am very happy that I did it. Because my skin has always responded positively by coloring itself reasonably to well. This made the disease less visible to the outside world. I felt more confident.

I did two of the treatments during my pregnancy. The vitiligo then became more acute. The pregnancy hormones caused my pigment to break down faster, causing me to develop spots more quickly. I have noticed that you have to be adherent to therapy to achieve the best possible results. Absenteeism hinders recovery!

Three years of light therapy was quite a challenge. Especially because lighting is only possible during the day and I therefore always had to arrange something at work. A few years later, when I had a toddler and was pregnant again, I wanted to go for home lighting. The doctor did not agree to this. Maybe because the hospital would otherwise miss out on income?

On one occasion I had to come to my insurer's head office to prove that the treatment was necessary. I found this very annoying. When they saw that my spots were clearly visible on my face and hands, I was given permission for the treatment. The next time I had my dermatologist specifically note that I had the spots in those visible places again, so that I did not have to go to my insurer for a check again.”