Vitiligo Challenge

  • Best Results3-12 months
  • Treatment Recovery0 days
  • Procedure Time2-8 minutes
  • Skin SpecialistDavin Lim
  • Duration of ResultsLong-term
  • AnaestheticNumbing to sedation
  • Back to Work0 days
  • Cost0 (Medicare)

Vitiligo Challenge

This vitiligo program is designed to understand your pattern of vitiligo. It consists of simple supplementation, clinical phototherapy & a combination of prescribed creams. The majority of patients will improve with this program, with re-pigmentation rate of up to 90%.

FactsFacts on the Vitiligo Challenge Program

  • This combines medical phototherapy & topicals
  • The success rate is up to 90%
  • Daily supplementation consists of vitamins B, C, E, D
  • Anti-inflammatory & pigment inducing creams are prescribed
  • You should expect to see progress within a few weeks of therapy
  • Medicare covers most of this treatment
  • The first signs of re-pigmentation are tiny dots around the hair follicle
  • Migration of pigment cells comes from the edges of vitiligo

What is the science behind the Vitiligo Challenge?

This treatment protocol is based upon recommendations by a group of international dermatologists. It is based upon pure science. Essentially it consists of three arms.

  1. Phototherapy using clinical narrowband UVB. Ideally three times a week. This is covered under Medicare. NUVB suppresses inflammation & encourages pigmentation.
  2. Prescribed creams to stop immune attack, inflammation & at the same time encourage pigment cell migrations to the patches of vitiligo.
  3. Supplements. You can buy some multivitamins & ginkgo biloba from any health food shop.

Diet is optional – see more information down below.

When will I see results?

Most patients will notice a change in their vitiligo patches within 4 weeks. This is based upon combination therapy using both topicals, supplementation & most importantly narrowband phototherapy. 

The first signs of pigmentation will occur around hair follicles. This is known as perifollicular re-pigmentation. From there, melanocytes will migrate towards the centre of the patches.

How much does it cost to treat vitiligo?

Australia is one of the only countries that subsidizes vitiligo therapy. Treatments are bulk billed if you have a Medicare card. As a guide-

  • Phototherapy – no charge.
  • Topicals creams- approximately $1.90 per day.
  • Supplements- approximately $1.20 per day.

Some creams are available on the PBS, meaning one tube costs $4-8.

What is phototherapy & why is it the foundation for treating vitiligo?

Narrowband UVB is now the most common type of light treatment for the treatment of vitiligo.  It uses light of a specific UVB wavelength in the 311nm spectrum & is the mainstay for the treatment of vitiligo. It works by stopping the immune attack & at the same time awakens pigment cells called melanocytes.

In summary, narrowband phototherapy

  • Does not increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • UVB treatment does not damage the skin nearly as much as UVA sources
  • UVB is compatible in pregnancy, lactation & in treating vitiligo in children.
  • Treatment studies suggest that it is a more effective treatment than PUVA.

Davin’s Viewpoint on the Vitiligo Challenge Program

The very first step is to understand your pattern of vitiligo. If I were to approach this with every single vitiligo treatment, I (we) will not be able to understand what combinations work for you. Hence, I have limited the treatment protocol to 3 known variables, namely creams, light & vitamins.

Despite optimal delivery of phototherapy as well as immune modifying creams, the location of vitiligo still plays an important part in prognosis. Facial disease responds best, acral or hand/feet/finger/toes responds poorly to most therapies.

I take baseline measurements during the consultation; you should do the same. Comparison photos are taken during the follow ups. With compliance & persistence, most cases of vitiligo can be treated.

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