Roughly one to two of 100 people in Korea suffers from vitiligo on an annual basis. An autoimmune skin disorder that shows as discolored, white patches on the skin caused by the skin cell’s inability to produce melanocytes, a study by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) reported 55,652 patients with vitiligo in 2015, 59,844 in 2016, and 63,014 in 2017. Having further analyzed data from 2010 to 2018, HIRA reported a 25 percent increase in domestic patients with vitiligo.
Vitiligo may appear in all shapes and sizes just about anywhere on the body, but it is especially apparent on the hands, feet, knees, elbows, around the eyes, nose, and mouth. It can also gradually enlarge over time so when it spreads to skin regions of hair growth, including the eyebrows, hair can also undergo discoloration.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder in which red papules and silvery-white scales appear on the affected skin. And over five years, an annual average of 160,000 patients had received at least one treatment for the condition through their health insurance plans.
There are several subtypes of psoriasis depending on the severity of the rash. For instance, Guttate psoriasis, or teardrop psoriasis, is a subtype that shows early symptoms, whereas 80 to 90 percent of patients suffer from plaque psoriasis, which appears as thick, red, and scaly patches over the affected skin. Erythrodermic psoriasis, a more uncommon subtype of the skin disease, appears as less thick, but develops sudden red patches and exacerbates quickly with severe itching and pain which may occur simultaneously. In addition to other subtypes, there is also pustular psoriasis, which appears as blisters, and interstitial psoriasis which affects the armpit area and below the chest.
Current methods for treating vitiligo and psoriasis include oral and topical prescription medication, narrowband UVB-based treatments, and targeted light therapy such as excimer lasers.
In response, LASEROPTEK Co., Ltd., a medical and aesthetic laser system developer and manufacturer based in Korea, recently developed and released PALLAS, the world’s first solid-state UVB Ti:Sapphire laser system, opening the door to new and advanced treatment methods for both autoimmune skin disorders. Several advantages of PALLAS yield safe and effective results while using the 308nm wavelength as well as minimal side effects following treatment. Moreover, the laser medium used in the device does not affect or harm healthy tissues that surround affected areas.
Dr. Jong-seong Ahn, director of Hukins Skin Clinic in Seoul, said that various treatment methods for vitiligo include oral medications, steroids, targeted light therapy, and skin seeding technique (SST). “And among these, results with PALLAS are efficacious and convenient for users to utilize in practice,” he added.
In addition, a clinical team led by Prof. Jeong-min Bae of the Catholic University of Korea St. Vincent’s Hospital’s Department of Dermatology conducted a study where 74 patients with vitiligo were designated in a group to receive treatments with PALLAS against 21 patients receiving treatments with a 308nm excimer laser. This study has been published in the renowned international academic journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.
Both vitiligo and psoriasis can interfere with people’s daily and social lives, with many experiencing depression or social stigma from public view. If vitiligo, for instance, is present on the face, neck, hands, arms, and legs below the knee, treatments with PALLAS, excimer lasers, phototherapy, and other current treatments may serve as optimal solutions to the condition moving forward.