Vitiligo treatments and procedures
I’m glad you asked this question about vitiligo and vitiligo treatments. An estimated 1-2% of the world’s population have vitiligo. For those of you who don’t know……it’s an autoimmune problem where the white blood cells of the affected person attack and destroy the pigment making cells in skin (melanocytes). Once gone, so far, there is no great way to get them back. These process leaves white patches on the skin. These patches are less obvious the lighter your basic skin type and more obvious in darker skin types.
In some parts of the world, vitiligo gets confused with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) with……as you can imagine……..devastating consequences if it’s misdiagnosed.
So to answer your questions, while your skin is essentially normal except for needing extra sun protection, we do not know if procedures like peels and lasers might not make the vitiligo worse by causing it to expand to other areas. This is because even gentle procedures like a glycolic peel or a gentle laser cause the white blood cells in the skin to be more active thus could make the vitiligo worse.
There are even some reports of the reverse as in fractionated lasers improving vitiligo in some cases. We really don’t know and that’s why it’s good to get an opinion from your doctors. At the end of the day though, probably only you can decide whether you want to take the risk that it might get worse!
Hope this helps, Dr. I