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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: Tinneus versicolor or vitiligo?

 momoffive - Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:53 am

My son is seven and he has always had a peaches and cream complexion. In January, I noticed that he had spots on his back and face that were pink in color and had a little scabby look to it. We had him seen by his pediatrician and an allergist, who diagnosed it as tinneus versicolor. Each doctor said it would take six weeks to go away.
The spots have since turned stark white on his back and though he doesn't have any noticeable spots on his face any longer, he does have white spots (more on the de-pigmented range) on his front by the shoulder area. I took him to a dermatologist today and she took a sample of the spot to put under the microscope. She said my son's back could be tinneus versicolor and while it has been more than six weeks since he was initially diagnosed, it can take a while for the pigment to come back. She also said that what he has on his front (and possibly, back) could be vitiligo.
What can you tell me about the treatment and any helpful information about vitiligo in children. I was diagnosed with vitiligo 14 years ago, when I was 24. It started out in a few small places and it has since spread all over my body. It's on the front of my feet, my legs, my entire face (there is very little pigment left), my arms, my back, my thighs. I do not take anything for it in terms of medication.
Thank you for your help.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:25 pm

User avatar Following an area of inflammation, such as would be caused by an infection like tinea versicolor, the affected areas can experience a lightening in color known as post-inflammatory hypopigmentation. The opposite may also occur and the skin can darken (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).

A wood's lamp examination (basically a black light) can help distinguish between hypopigmentation and vitiligo. Skin affected by vitiligo will flouresce in the light. Hypopigmented skin still has some pigment and does not flouresce nearly as much.

Treatment for vitiligo is difficult. Various methods have been used with varying degrees of success including using light therapy with specific waves of ultraviolet light, steroid therapy, and non-steroid immune modulatory creams. None are excellent at treatment.

It is possible your primary care doctor may be able to do the wood's lamp exam to help you differentiate the cause. If not, your dermatologist should be able to help.

Best wishes.

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