Vitiligo treatments

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Treatments can be provided by the NHS.  The main available treatments are:

  • Creams, (steroids and protopic) which can be prescribed by your doctor, which are used for up to 2 months or longer under close supervision. 
  • Light treatment, (narrowband UVB and PUVA) for which you would have to go to hospital 2 or 3 times a week.  This is sometimes given with medication as well.

How effective are these treatments?

No complete cure for vitiligo has been discovered yet, but these treatments can be very effective in bringing back colour to the white skin patches, or at least slowing down the progress of vitiligo.  The effects of treatment vary from one person to another.  In some cases, treatment can bring about complete repigmentation. 

Treatments may not work on all areas of the body and they do not work for everyone. If colour does return to the white patches, there is still a risk of the vitiligo coming back at a later date. 

Recent research suggests that the effectiveness of treatments depends less on a person’s age than where the vitiligo is and when it started:

  • Treating vitiligo on the face seems to be particularly effective. 
  • Children are more likely to be more responsive to treatment.
  • Using treatments when vitiligo first develops is more effective than later on.
  • Small areas are easier to treat than larger ones.

Bleaching (depigmentation treatment) and skin grafting are used very occasionally, in specific circumstances.  More information on this is available in the Treatment Information Pack available HERE.

You may also have heard of various complementary treatments, which are not available on the NHS.  More information is available HERE.