However, the effects of treatment are not usually permanent, and it cannot always control the spread of the condition.
Your GP may begin treating your condition with: sun safety advice a referral for camouflage creams topical corticosteroids
Your GP may suggest no further treatment is necessary if, for example, you only have a small patch of vitiligo or have very fair skin anyway. If you need further treatment, you may be referred to a dermatologist (specialist in treating skin conditions).
Read on to learn about the different treatments you may be offered. You can also see a summary of the pros and cons of these treatments, which allows you to easily compare your options.
Protection from the sun
If you have vitiligo, you must protect your skin from the sun and avoid sunbeds.
When skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces a pigment called melanin to help protect it from ultraviolet light. If you have vitiligo, there is not enough melanin in your skin, so it is not protected. Sunburn is a real risk.
Always apply a high-factor sun cream, ideally with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or above, to protect your skin from sunburn and long-term damage. This is particularly important if you have fair skin.
Read more about sunburn.
Protecting your skin from the sun will also minimise tanning, which will make your vitiligo less noticeable.
If your skin is not exposed to the sun, there is an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for keeping bones and teeth healthy.
Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, although it is also found in some foods, such as oily fish.
To avoid potential problems like rickets (known as osteomalacia in adults), you may need to take vitamin D supplements.
Skin camouflage involves applying coloured creams to the white patches on your skin. These creams are specially made to match your natural skin colour. The cream blends in the white patches with the rest of your skin, making them less noticeable.
For advice about skin camouflage, your GP may refer you to the Changing Faces skin camouflage service.
You need to be trained in using the camouflage creams, but the service is free (although donations are welcome) and…