Of the various skin related diseases, two of the most prominent are psoriasis and vitiligo. But modern medicine has evolved to find a cosmetically appealing cure to both these, and dermatologists are increasingly using laser to correct vitiligo and psoriasis
What Are They?
Psoriasis is the unpredictable, irritating skin disease that occurs due to skin cells multiplying 10 times faster than normal. When this happens, the underlying skin cells reach the skin’s surface and die. The volume of the dead cells causes raised red plaques covered in white scales. It may affect knees, elbows, scalp and sometimes even the torso, palms and soles of the feet.
Vitiligo is the skin condition where patches of skin lose their pigment, become white and have sharp margins. In addition to the skin, even the hair growing on it may become white. Vitiligo begins in the areas of skin that is exposed to the sun and is more noticeable in people with dark skin. Vitiligo might occur due to genetic susceptibility that is triggered by some environmental factor also.
Are These Curable
Thus far, psoriasis and vitiligo have been thought of as diseases with no clear cure. But with the evolution of advanced cosmetic surgery, lasers can be used to treat the two diseases, and if not cure completely, at least keep it at bay. Lasers have been used successfully when compared to other systemic medications and treatments that include creams and ointments.
The Necessity For A Cure
While psoriasis and vitiligo are not really medically serious diseases, they have two major problems associated with them. Psoriasis causes major itching and burning, often causing extreme discomfort to the patient, and leaves unsightly marks and rashes. Vitiligo is especially harsher on dark skinned people where it is clearly visible when compared to the normal skin tone.
In addition to the medical discomfort, both these diseases have a longer lasting psychological impact, with the people having these conditions being looked down upon. This is why it is essential to get a cure for these diseases.
Excimer Laser For Treating Vitiligo And Psoriasis
Many dermatologists recommend using lasers for treatment of both these diseases for various reasons
- There is no unnecessary exposure of healthy skin to UV (another treatment method) – since laser can be targeted and focused on only those areas as necessary, this helps better focus
- The treatment time is lesser – laser treatments are renowned for their quick completion for better results.
- Daily creams and covering makeup need not be worn – laser treatments approach the problem at the root level and do not need any further cream to cover up the affected area
- The risk of liver damage and birth defects is greatly reduced – Harmful radiation might cause additional problems in the body that are not anticipated. Laser avoids these problems by targeting the limited area as necessary.
- The skin will not rebound into thinning or having stretch marks – since the skin is not affected at the surface level and is not exposed to harmful chemicals or radiation that might thin it, laser treatments do not cause thinning or uneven scars like stretch marks.
Concentrated beams of laser light are delivered directly to the targeted areas from a fiber optic system that is placed directly on the skin. The beam of light is moved across the area, and the laser energy is high exposure and effectively treats active lesions, without touching the surrounding healthy skin in any way. The treatment is a quick fix, and is done anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes.
The treatment procedure does not have any side effects including pain or any other form of discomfort. But a mild burning sensation similar to sunburn can be felt. There might also be a little itching or redness but they last only for a few days. Laser treatments usually have other precautionary measures in place to ensure that the patient feels minimum discomfort. The results of the treatment begin showing in two or three sessions, which is much faster than other treatment procedures, and can offer a remission period of 3 to 6 months.
When Is The Laser Treatment Procedure Used?
The laser method works as a standalone, and can also be used in combination with other treatment procedures including the ultraviolet light concomitantly. There are no safety concerns for this and the results might be faster and much more satisfactory. The laser therapy is used as an option where even other treatments have not worked. Dermatologists recommend using the laser treatment in the place of other systemic medicine treatments like usage of steroids.
While prolonged exposure to other treatment methods might harm other body parts, continued usage of steroids that work on making the pigments temporarily disappear is not possible due to the other side effects this might bring.
The current approved laser treatment for psoriasis is also being successfully experimented with vitiligo and offers best results when compared to other treatment methods.
Dr. Rinky Kapoor of The Esthetic Clinic, Mumbai, India, is an accomplished cosmetic dermatologist. She is also a certified trichologist and consultant cosmetologist at the Raheja Fortis hospitals in Mumbai, India. Dr. Kapoor has successfully treated many skin related diseases with satisfactory results, and has revolutionised the usage of lasers in cosmetic medicine in Mumbai, India.