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If you or someone you know has vitiligo, learning about available treatments like depigmentation therapy can be empowering. This therapy can offer many benefits, but like all treatments, it has its challenges. Here, we’ll explore what a recent study says about the pros and cons of depigmentation therapy.

  • Depigmentation therapy can make a real difference in the quality of life for people with vitiligo.
  • Many in the study wished they had tried this therapy sooner.
  • There are challenges to consider related to depigmentation therapy, like sun protection and repigmentation.

Vitiligo leads to loss of skin pigment and can sometimes affect how we feel about ourselves. This can cause feelings of anxiety or low self-esteem. Depigmentation therapy is an option that reduces the pigmentation in the darker areas of skin so they match the pigmentation of the lighter patches. It may help to even out the skin tone and can be effective, especially if other treatments haven’t worked.

What the Research Tells Us

One study, published in the Archives of Dermatological Research, looked at 77 people with vitiligo; 42 tried depigmentation therapy, and 35 thought about it but decided against it. Here’s what they found:

  • Reduced Social Anxiety: People who tried the therapy generally felt better about their life and their skin. It made social situations more comfortable for many.
  • Post-Treatment Challenges: Some people faced challenges after their treatment. About 42.5% said they had to be extra careful about sun protection and a few noticed their skin getting some color back (repigmentation). Other issues, though less common, included adjusting to their new look and having side effects from the treatment.
  • Side Effects: Like all treatments, there were some side effects. These included itching, dry skin, and some temporary skin discoloration.
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Thinking of Trying It?

If you’re considering depigmentation therapy, this study offers some hope, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Many participants wished they’d tried it earlier, and most said they would recommend it to others with vitiligo. However, some did have regrets, such as having to deal with repigmentation following therapy or as a reaction to the medication. It’s important to work with a healthcare provider when making any treatment decisions. If you’re thinking about this treatment method, consult a dermatologist to see if it’s right for you.

Source:

Cadmus, S. D., Riddle, A. O., Sebastian, K. R., Reddy, P., & Ahmed, A. M. (2023). Psychosocial and quality-of-life factors associated with depigmentation therapy for vitiligo. Archives of Dermatological Research, 315(8), 2283–2288. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00403-023-02595-5