Our skin color is not based on how many melanocytes we have (we’re all born with a similar amount), but by how active they are. Dark-skinned people have cells that naturally produce a lot of melanin, while the cells in light-skinned people make much less.
Eczema and vitiligo are both caused by an overactive immune system that damages your healthy skin cells. However, there are some key differences between how these two conditions develop.
Researchers are also looking into a new procedure called a melanocyte transplant. It works by removing a sample of normally pigmented skin and using it to grow new melanocytes in the lab. These can then be transplanted back into the depigmented skin to return some of the missing color.
- Can eczema look like vitiligo in children
- Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors
- Eczema and Vitiligo: What’s the Connection
- Eczema affects more than the skin.
- Pityriasis Alba: White Patches On The Skin
- What Happens in Vitiligo?
- Video for “Can eczema look like vitiligo in children?”
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Can eczema look like vitiligo in children
Corticosteroids (steroids) are medications that can reduce inflammation levels, which can help in treating eczema and vitiligo. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, your doctor or dermatologist may prescribe either a topical applied directly to your skin or a pill to take by mouth.
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Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors
Dry skin and itching from eczema can be treated with over-the-counter topical hydrocortisone cream available at grocery stores and pharmacies. If you need a stronger dose, your doctor may prescribe prescription-strength corticosteroids that come as creams, ointments, lotions, or sprays. It’s important to use these according to your doctor’s directions.
Finally, get emotional support if your child needs it — especially if you see any signs of withdrawal, depression, or anxiety. Counselors, therapists, and vitiligo support groups can help. Find a support group near you online at:
Eczema and Vitiligo: What’s the Connection
In most cases, pityriasis alba does go away. The light-colored or white spots on the face of children usually fade on their own in a matter of months.
A blood test may be done to check for thyroid problems and diabetes.
Researchers have found that your skin can lose its color when it’s inflamed. This symptom is common in people with eczema — especially those with darker skin color. This happens as the melanocytes are only suppressed by the inflammation, not destroyed as in vitiligo. This loss of color resulting from eczema will eventually go away on its own after a few weeks or months.
Eczema affects more than the skin.
Pityriasis alba can be confused with other skin conditions, like fungal skin infections or vitiligo. A physical exam and certain diagnostic tests can help to determine what kind of skin disorder affects your child.
The doctor will also ask lots of questions about your child’s medical history, including:
Because eczema and vitiligo are caused by an overactive immune system, they share many treatment options that help control inflammation. Examples include topical creams with corticosteroids, Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs), and phototherapy.
Pityriasis Alba: White Patches On The Skin
While vitiligo might make kids self-conscious, this skin condition is not medically dangerous. It’s not a form of skin cancer, it’s not an infection like MRSA, and it’s not contagious. In fact, most kids who have it are every bit as healthy as everyone else.
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What Happens in Vitiligo?
MyVitiligoTeam members have asked others about their experiences living with both of these conditions. “Is there a correlation between vitiligo and eczema?” asked one member. “I have vitiligo and was recently diagnosed with eczema. I constantly scratch and have pain. My doctor put me on prednisone, which helped but now that I finished it, the itching has started again. Any suggestions?”
No one knows exactly why vitiligo happens, but it affects people of both sexes and all races. Many people with the condition are kids and teens. Theories vary on what causes vitiligo. Some experts think it is an autoimmune disorder (in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy melanocytes). Others think it is a genetic condition, as affected kids often have a family member who also has it.