The Truth About Vitiligo
Vitiligo is a skin condition that is thought to affect approximately one per cent of the population, worldwide. Sufferers are men, women and children of all skin colours, but although it is relatively common, vitiligo is little understood and there is still so much to discover. At London’s Wimpole Aesthetics we offer regular clinics with leading vitiligo expert Dr Sanjeev Mulekar, one of the world’s leading vitiligo experts.
Causes of vitiligo
Vitiligo is characterised by the skin losing pigment and becoming white, usually in patches. The colour in our skin is due to melanin made by cells called melanocytes, but where vitiligo is present these melanocytes are absent.
This is the reason for the patches of white skin, but what actually causes these melanocytes to disappear from the affected areas of dermis is not known. It is thought to be an autoimmune condition in that the body’s own immune system has destroyed those cells and there are other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease that often co-exist with vitiligo.
Stress and trauma are thought to play a role and often the development of vitiligo can stem from a single stressful or traumatic event. Other possible causes include critical sunburn that damages the skin, exposure to certain chemicals or a neural or viral cause.
There is evidence to suggest a genetic basis to vitiligo; it is thought that about a fifth of vitiligo sufferers have a close family member with the same condition. However, if you have vitiligo it doesn’t necessarily mean that your children will inherit it. Currently, there is much research into the link between genetics and vitiligo.
The impact on treatment
Not knowing the exact cause of vitiligo has an understandable impact on treatment. Certainly, it means there is no current cure for vitiligo in terms of the body reversing the process itself. The innovative treatment offered by Dr Mulekar, called Melanocyte Transplantation, restores the loss of pigmentation by transferring cells from another, unaffected part of the body.
Cells are taken from the donor site and the melanocytes are separated out and made into a solution that can be sprayed onto areas of depigmented skin. Over the next couple of months and up to a year, the patient will see repigmentation in these areas and, in segmented vitiligo cases, this treatment has up to a 94 per cent success rate.
As Dr Mulekar explains, “Approximately 30% of patients will need a repeat treatment to get the best result, but Melanocyte Transplantation can be repeated with no complications.”
Dr Mulekar will be next visiting Wimpole Aesthetics in May 2015. However, if you have any queries regarding Dr Mulekar and the treatment he offers, get in touch with one of the team on 020 72224 2247 now and we can address these with Dr Mulekar’s help.