TAMPA - Lisa Arias is getting phototherapy for a skin condition that embarrasses many. "The result of vitiligo is the loss of pigment. So you've probably seen people in a store and its caught your attention and they're discolored, like part of their skin is tanned and part isn't."
She says her vitiligo started after she had kids. "I just noticed it start to spread from body part to body part."
Lisa feared there was no cure. "Basically the only resources I've had is creams and topical (ointments) and things like that."
Then she heard about laser therapy. Dr. Seth Forman is using a new UV technology device called Psorialight. Used initially for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis - he's tried it on vitiligo. "The way it works is ultraviolet B light is a little more superficial than ultraviolet A light. Essentially, these wavelengths, in layman's terms, can scare away the inflammatory cells that are causing the changes to the skin."
The phototherapy is used with a topical cream. After a month-and-a-half of treatment three times a week, the difference in Lisa's skin tone is less noticable. "Just to see those 'before and after' pictures were enough for me to say, you know what, I've done something for myself. I went out there and found a treatment so now I can save my face. I can walk in the store and no one is going to look at me like "Oh.""
Dr Forman says most insurance does cover the treatment.