Background: Vitiligo is the most common depigmentary disorder of the skin and hair, resulting from selective destruction of melanocytes. Melasma, a hyperpigmentary disorder, presents as irregular, brown, macular hypermelanosis. A small subset of vitiligo patients paradoxically also have melasma.
Objective: To evaluate and compare the response to narrow-band UVB in a group of patients with vitiligo, and another group of patients with vitiligo and coexisting melasma (vitiligo-melasma).
Methods: Patients in both groups were treated with narrow-band UVB and a comparison of the zonal repigmentation was made at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after the initiation of therapy.
Results: At the end of 12 weeks, 86% of patients in the vitiligo-melasma group attained ≥75% pigmentation on the face, whereas this was achieved in only 12.5% of patients in the vitiligo group. Over the limbs, 73% of patients in the vitiligo-melasma group attained 75% or more pigmentation at the end of 12 weeks compared with only 9% in the vitiligo group. On the trunk, only 20% of vitiligo-melasma patients showed ≥75% pigmentation at 12 weeks compared with 63% of patients in the vitiligo group.
Conclusion: Patients having both vitiligo and melasma have a significantly better prognosis for repigmentation on the face and limbs with narrow-band UVB compared with patients with vitiligo alone; the vitiligo-melasma patients achieve repigmentation much earlier and also attain a greater level of repigmentation. Unexpectedly, for truncal lesions, patients with vitiligo alone responded better than those with both conditions. Although the vitiligo-melasma group with truncal lesions started repigmenting earlier, the final pigmentation was more extensive in the vitiligo group.