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

Questions about treatments

What are the treatment methods for vitiligo?
  • UVB light therapy
  • Corticosteroid ointment
  • Anti-inflammatory tacrolimus ointment
  • Pigment transplantation
  • Depigmentation therapy
What is UVB light therapy?

UVB light therapy uses UVB light, 311nm. This form of light is much more active in the skin than UVA light. UVB therapy is only given on the prescription of a specialist.

Can anyone just do light therapy?

No, this isn't possible. Light therapy is not prescribed for children under 6 years of age. Their skin is still far too thin and delicate to handle this form of therapy.

Can UVB light therapy cause side effects?

Yes, side effects can occur. In the short term, e.g. irritation or burning of the skin. The long-term side effects can be more serious, but are rare. Think of skin cancer.

What is corticosteroid ointment?

Corticosteroid ointment is often prescribed for skin conditions. This ointment suppresses inflammation and infections. In vitiligo patients, this drug can sometimes prevent the spots from spreading. Specialists regularly opt for a combination of corticosteroid ointment and UVB light therapy. The disadvantage is that long-term use of corticosteroid ointment can cause the skin to become thin, for example.

What is anti-inflammatory tacrolimus ointment (including Protopic or Elidel)?

Tacrolimus ointment does not contain corticosteroids and therefore has fewer harmful side effects. The ointment also has an anti-inflammatory effect and prevents the breakdown of pigment. Research shows that tacrolimus ointment is a good addition to UVB light therapy. Tracolimus ointment works especially well for vitiligo on the face.

Resume applying Cortifil cream to the face after 3 months?

Inhibitory treatment against the spread of vitiligo will usually have to be continued for a long time. Effects within this short time are usually too limited and of course the vitiligo spots can also return. Long-term treatment (even months to years) with a corticosteroid by so-called intermittent treatment (3 consecutive days and then no application for 4 consecutive days) or treatment with Tacrolimus or Pimecrolimus (Protopic/Elidel). The latter remedies can even be prescribed for the face for a long period of time for vitiligo.

What is pigment transplantation?

With pigment transplantation, specialists remove pieces of pigmented skin and place them on the vitiligo skin. This method is only suitable for patients with a stable form of vitiligo. For all transplant methods, a trial transplant is always done first. The transplant should not cause white spots to appear on the skin where a piece of skin is removed. The different forms of transplant are described on our website.

Can a tanning treatment help?

We know from research that a tanning bed treatment has very little effect on vitiligo. We therefore advise against it. Sunlight, on the other hand, can sometimes cause extensive repigmentation.
The first choice for the treatment of extensive vitiligo is UVB light therapy. But even in these COVID times it is possible to receive UVB light therapy safely.
This can be done through home lighting, which we supervise from the SNIP.
However, this is only possible if you are receiving treatment under the SNIP. (Currently there are also video consultations at SNIP).