Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease that will result in skin discoloration and the loss of pigmentation. The disease may not be fully treated, but it can be managed. There is a permanent solution of removing the pigmentation altogether, but it may only be applied in certain patients. The condition is rare, but there are a few types of professionals that may treat and manage the disease.
Dermatologists are skin health specialists that can also deal with patients with vitiligo. The patient may get a referral from a family practice specialist, and a dermatologist may diagnose vitiligo. The dermatologist can suggest a course of treatment and can monitor the evolution of the patient during his entire lifetime. The specialist may also give a referral to other immunology specialists and work together to offer a more complex management solution for vitiligo patients.
A dermatologist is also qualified to diagnose and treat other skin diseases such as infections, skin cancers, moles, warts, scars or acne. Dermatologists may also detect and manage allergic reactions that involve the skin. These doctors are qualified to treat internal problems that may lead to skin reactions. A dermatologist gets a medical degree after 4 years of training (1 year of internship and 3 years of residency).
A dermatopathologist may be consulted when diagnosing vitiligo. A dermatopathologist deals with the study of the skin cells and may determine how advance the condition is. The specialist may also be able to prescribe a vitiligo treatment. Dermatopathologists may work with a primary physician to manage and supervise the evolution of a patient with vitiligo.
Vitiligo is a rare disease, but may affect adults and children alike. For children with this disease, there are specialized pediatric dermatologists that may prescribe a suitable treatment for infants, children and adolescents. Dermatologists are also qualified to perform surgeries on the skin.
The immunology specialists may also treat vitiligo, this being a disease of the immune system. The immune system responds negatively to some unknown causes and produces antibodies that destroy the pigments, resulting in a lack of pigmentation in patches on the extremities or other areas.
An immunologist can offer support for the immune system to prevent the disease from getting more advanced. Immunologists also treat other autoimmune diseases, allergies and immune system deficiencies. An immunologist has a medical degree, obtained after 4 years of medical school.
The disease is immune system mediated, so dermatological immunology specialists may also be qualified to treat and manage vitiligo. The dermatological immunologists are trained both in immunology and dermatology, so they will be able to offer support for the immune system and treat the skin as well.
Dermatological immunologists have a special training; in addition to dermatology (4 years), they also get fellowships of 1 or 2 years, depending on the type of program.