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05 December 2016Last updated
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Ask the expert: what can I do about white skin patches?

From the tone of your letter I am assuming that the condition could be vitiligo

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir
22 Nov 2016 | 09:30 am
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I have white patches on my face that look awful. I’ve seen people staring at me due to this. Is there a way to get rid of them?

The white patches on your face could be due to partially suppressed skin pigment – melanin – or due to a total loss of melanin. There could be many different reasons for this. A detailed examination would be required before confirming the diagnosis. However, from the tone of your letter I am assuming that the condition could be vitiligo.

It is believed vitiligo is the result of an auto-immune phenomenon where skin pigment cells (melanin cells) get targeted and destroyed by the auto-antibodies produced against them through one’s own immune system, resulting in partial or total loss of pigmentation in the affected areas of the skin. The occurrence of vitiligo increases among individuals suffering from any other auto-immune disease and also among individuals suffering from some types of allergies.

For vitiligo, medication would include applying high-potency topical corticosteroids on the affected areas. There are side effects to this treatment that your dermatologist will be able explain to you.

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Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

is a specialist dermatologist and founder and president of Dermacare Skin Health Services.