SolRx UVB Home Phototherapy for Vitiligo
A naturally effective treatment for repigmentation
Your autoimmune system is betraying you.
What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a non-contagious autoimmune disease for which there is no known cure. Vitiligo causes localized skin de-pigmentation resulting in starkly white irregular skin patches (lesions) to randomly appear within healthy darker skin, and it can affect any part of the body including the face, arms, legs, genitals and scalp. Vitiligo affects roughly 1% of the world’s population1 and occurs in all skin types and in all races. With vitiligo, it is believed that an overactive immune system improperly attacks the skin’s pigment producing cells called melanocytes and destroys their ability to produce melanin, the skin’s colorant and its natural protection from sunlight. Vitiligo does not produce pain or itching but without pigment the lesions may be at increased risk of skin cancer.
Although the exact cause for vitiligo is unknown, most theories suggest a genetic predisposition2,3 component combined with external factors such as lifestyle and stress4. Indeed, vitiligo is usually triggered by a stressful event, such as a divorce, job loss, or strong negative impression. Vitiligo can deeply affect the patient’s self-esteem and quality of life, with the white spots often being more disturbing for the patient than for the people around them. In many cases the disease is self-perpetuating, as the vitiligo spots cause further patient stress and further disease progression. Those with darker skin may be more profoundly affected emotionally due to the greater visual contrast between the white patches and their healthy dark skin. In some cultures those with vitiligo are unfairly treated very harshly.
There are Two Types of Vitiligo:
Responds well to UVB-NB Phototherapy
Non-Segmental vitiligo accounts for about 90% of cases and affects both sides of the body somewhat symmetrically, with lesions of similar size and shape appearing on both left and right sides of the body. For example, if a spot develops on the left shoulder, a spot will also likely develop on the right shoulder. If the lesions are close enough to the center of the body, they will merge into a single large lesion. Non-segmental vitiligo usually continues to spread to other skin areas over the years. When repigmented, non-segmental vitiligo may reappear, especially for those under constant stress. Non-segmental vitiligo is somewhat easier to repigment than segmental vitiligo.
Responds well to UVB-NB Phototherapy
Segmental vitiligo accounts for about 10% of cases and affects only either the left or the right side of the body. Sometimes the hair originating in the lesions turns white as well. This type of vitiligo usually spreads quickly over 2 to 6 months and then stops progressing. Segmental vitiligo is relatively difficult to repigment, but if repigmentation can be achieved, it will likely never reappear.
What are the Treatment Options for Vitiligo?
Despite what some dare claim, there is no known cure for vitiligo. There are, however, several treatment options that can stop its progression and promote repigmentation, with full repigmentation possible for many patients. The most common treatment options are:
In many cases, the medical treatment of vitiligo starts with topical drugs; that is, immunosuppressant creams or ointments applied directly on “top” of the vitiligo lesions. The most common topical drugs for vitiligo include various strengths of steroids, and the topical calcineurin inhibitors (which are not specifically indicated for vitiligo, but are sometimes used under physician guidance). Often topical drugs start working well but then the skin’s response quickly fades in a process known as “tachyphylaxis”, which leads to ever-larger drug doses and ultimately to frustration for patients and doctors alike5. Furthermore, the topical drugs have potential side effects. For example, prolonged steroid use can cause skin atrophy (thinning of the skin), rosacea, and skin irritation. To improve results, topical drugs are sometimes used in conjunction with UVB-Narrowband phototherapy, but they should be applied only after the light treatment. An exception to this is pseudocatalase, which is applied to the skin first, and then activated using a low-dose of UVB-Narrowband. Pseudocatalase is a special topical cream that decreases hydrogen peroxide levels in the vitiligo lesions.
A low-cost, non-medical solution for vitiligo is to simply mask the affected areas with cosmetics, but that requires daily work, is messy, and does not address the underlying immune system problem, allowing the vitiligo to spread further.
Considered worldwide as the gold standard7 for vitiligo treatment UVB-Narrowband (UVB-NB) phototherapy is a light therapy procedure in which the patient’s skin is exposed only to the wavelengths of ultraviolet light medically studied to be the most beneficial (around 311 nanometers using Philips /01 medical fluorescent lamps), and usually without any drugs.
UVB-NB Phototherapy has been used successfully in clinical settings for decades and its efficacy is well documented. The latest study, which was published on December 16, 2022, states ” Given the autoimmune nature of vitiligo, treatments that modulate the immune system and immune response can serve as an important therapeutic modality. Unfortunately, topical immune-modulating medications require daily applications, are ineffective in some patients, and may have adverse effects. Another limitation is cost, as the newest FDA-approved topical medication for vitiligo could cost thousands of dollars, if not covered by insurance. Therefore, phototherapy can serve an important role in the therapeutic armamentarium of vitiligo as it is safe, cost-effective, and can treat patients with large areas of disease.”
Follow this link to read the full study by Doctor N. Brownstown.
The Four SolRx UVB-NB Phototherapy Device Families:
The SolRx E‑Series begins with a single Master 6-foot panel with 2, 4 or 6 bulbs that can be used by itself, or expanded with similar 2, 4, or 6 bulb Add‑On devices to build up to a multidirectional system that surrounds the patient for optimal full body UVB-NB light delivery. Vitiligo typically responds best to full body exposure regardless of where the vitiligo is on the body. For this reason, the E-Series devices are recommended for vitiligo treatment.
Starting at CA$1595.00
The SolRx 1000‑Series is the original Solarc 6-foot panel that has provided relief for thousands of patients worldwide since 1992. Available with 8 or 10 Philips Narrowband UVB bulbs. Ideal for full body treatments at the lowest "cost per bulb" of any Solarc device. Vitiligo typically responds best to full body exposure regardless of where the vitiligo is on the body. For this reason, the 1000-Series devices are recommended for vitiligo treatment.
29″ wide x 72″ high x 3.5″ deep.
CA$3145.00 to CA$3445.00
The SolRx 500‑Series has the greatest light intensity of all Solarc devices. For spot treatments, it can be rotated to any direction when mounted on the yoke (shown), or for hand & foot treatments used with the removable hood (not shown). While the 500-Series can still work for vitiligo treatment, vitiligo typically responds best to full body UVB Narrowband exposure and therefore the 500-Series is not typically recommended.
Immediate treatment area is 18″ x 13″.
CA$1395.00 to CA$1795.00
The SolRx 100‑Series is a high performance 2-bulb handheld device that can be placed directly on the skin. It is intended for spot targeting of small areas, including for scalp psoriasis with the optional UV-Brush. All-aluminum wand with clear acrylic window. While the 100-Series can still work for vitiligo treatment, vitiligo typically responds best to full body UVB Narrowband exposure and therefore the 100-Series is not typically recommended.
Immediate treatment area is 2.5" x 5" inches.
It is important that you discuss with your physician/healthcare professional the best choices for you; their advice always takes priority over any guidance provided by Solarc.