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

Treatment methods

Vitiligo cannot be cured because the cause is unknown. There are various treatment methods that prevent pigment loss or stimulate pigment production. The effect of the treatment varies from person to person. Be well informed by a doctor. Also read our tips about contacting your doctor.

UVB light therapy

Currently, UVB light therapy is the most effective treatment method for vitiligo patients. In a large proportion of patients who follow light therapy twice a week for one year, the pigment largely returns. The ultraviolet light (UV light) in the closed light cabin stimulates the production of pigment. The time the patient spends in the light booth – usually a few seconds – is gradually increased to prevent burning. UVB light therapy can also make vitiligo worse. Therefore, make a well-considered choice in consultation with a specialist. UVB light therapy places a considerable burden on patients. They must then come to the hospital twice a week. Following light therapy at home is also possible, but some hospitals prefer not to do this. Read about the pros and cons and a patient's experience.

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 spread of the spots. It has no direct influence on the pigment cells. Specialists regularly opt for a combination of corticosteroid ointment and UVB light therapy. The disadvantage is that corticosteroid ointment has harmful side effects in the long term. For example, the skin can become thin.

An example of a corticosteroid-containing ointment is: Elocon.

Anti-inflammatory tacrolimus ointment

Tacrolimus ointment does not contain corticosteroids and therefore has fewer harmful side effects. The ointment has an anti-inflammatory effect and prevents the breakdown of pigment. Recent research shows that tacrolimus ointment is a good addition to UVB light therapy. Tracolimus ointment works especially well for vitiligo in the face. Although this ointment has not been specially developed for vitiligo and is therefore not an official treatment method for vitiligo, it is prescribed as such.

An example of a tacrolimus ointment is: Protopic.

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 develop on the pigmented skin when a piece of skin is removed, it Koebner phenomenon. There are different transplant methods.

  • Minigrafting method
    At the minigraftingmethod, small circles of pigmented skin are removed. Round holes are drilled into the vitiligo spot, into which the healthy rounds of skin are placed. This creates small pigment islands in the vitiligo spot that grow towards each other with the help of UVB light therapy.
  • Split skin grafting method
    For treating larger vitiligo spots, the split skin graftingmethod more suitable. Pigmented skin on the buttock or thigh is removed and placed on the vitiligo spot. The vitiligo spot is treated first so that the transplanted skin easily adheres to this area. The transplant is done on an outpatient basis.
  • Blister roof transplant
    With a blister roof transplant, doctors create an artificial blister on the pigmented skin. They then transplant the blister roof to an area with pre-treated, unpigmented skin. This treatment is especially suitable for small surfaces.
  • The Ghent method
    With this method, doctors shave off a piece of pigmented skin. They add a liquid and hyaluronic acid to these pigmented skin cells. They then remove unpigmented skin with a laser. They apply hyaluronic acid to the pigmented skin cells at this point so that they adhere.

Depigmentation therapy

Depigmentation therapy is only intended for patients diagnosed with vitiligo universalis. Patients with this form of vitiligo have hardly any (<10%) pigmented skin. The treatment aims to remove the remaining pigment. This can be done using so-called 'bleaching creams' or with a laser treatment.


There are several ways to camouflage or disguise vitiligo. People who have naturally fair skin are better off staying out of the sun. This way they prevent their pigmented skin from darkening in the summer and the contrast with the vitiligo spots remains minimal. In addition, vitiligo patients can use makeup to camouflage.