The sun or, failing that, narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy is used as a natural remedy for the treatment of vitiligo. Patients with vitiligo, however, should be particularly careful in the summer.
The absence of melanin in patches depigmented by vitiligo means that this skin lacks one of its natural defences. That is why areas with vitiligo turn pink when they are exposed too much to the sun.
Sunburn can worsen the condition of patients with vitiligo and so they should heed the following advice:
- Use sunscreen every day and ensure that it provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays, has a Sun Protection Factor of over 30 and is water-resistant.
- Apply the cream before exposure to the sun (at least 20 minutes beforehand) and reapply frequently, every two hours or after swimming.
- Use photosensitizers. When used in combination with exposure to the sun as part of vitiligo treatment, photosensitizers have proved to be very effective at speeding up the pigmentation of affected areas.
Abedul has developed the Fenadul photosensitizer range, comprising Fenadul capsules to be taken orally and Fenadul Gel for topical use. Fenadul, when used in conjunction with phototherapy, is one of the best options for patients with vitiligo affecting areas with hair (legs, arms, trunk, etc.).
In these cases, a single daily dose of Fenadul Capsules is recommended (6 capsules for 60 kg). Apply Fenadul Gel to the areas being treated fifteen minutes after taking the capsules and then, half an hour later, apply phototherapy by exposure to the sun or using a narrowband UVB lamp (carefully following the instructions). Repeat this treatment three days a week.
According to “Alternative Systemic Treatments for Vitiligo: A Review”( Cohen BE, Elbuluk N, Mu EW, Orlow SJ), 71.2% of patients showed improvement after 18 months of treatment with phenylalanine, registering repigmentation rates of between 25 and 77%.
Progressive exposure to the sun at the same time of day is recommended. Start with 4 minutes and increase the exposure time gradually by 15% provided that no erythema or redness of the skin accompanied by inflammation is observed. If it is, go back to the previous exposure time which did not produce erythema.