IGH (Idiopathic guttate Hypomelanosis). You might know about Vitiligo, it is an auto-immune disease in which people get white patches on their skin, which may spread all over their body.
However IGH is a totally different disease. It may look similar but it’s not at all related to Vitiligo.
🔹It usually occurs in patients above 50 to 60 years of age.
🔹In IGH, small white spots 2-5mm in diameter, usually occurs in hands and legs, and skin that’s more exposed to the sunlight, or in sites of skin damage.
🔹These are not painful and does not spread across the entire body. However this may cause cosmetic problems for many patients.
The main underlying cause of IGH is decreased melanin synthesis which causes loss of pigmentation and appearance of white spots.
There is still not a full proof way of curing IGH but various modes of treatment have been found to be effective on many patients, which are –
1. Cryotherapy – using liquid nitrogen spray on the affected area, which then regenerates
2. Tacrolimus ointment – which helps in repigmentation
3. Retinoid cream – which helps in tissue regeneration and reduces signs of aging by promoting collagen formation in tissues
4. Many people have tried laser treatment and chemical control with 88% phenol, which have proved effective in reducing the white spots. However it’s not hundred percent effective.
Finally, I’d like to say that IGH is just a sign of aging and not a disease as such. So nothing to be worried about. It is often seen in people whose parents also have this condition.
If you’ve got white spots or patches in your skin, I’d recommend you to visit a Dermatologist who could differentiate if you’ve got Vitiligo or IGH or any other disease with similar symptoms. Thank you.
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Blog by: Dr. Uttam Kumar Lenka, Consultant Dermatologist. Kolkata.