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Vitiligo

What Is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an unpleasant skin condition where a loss of pigment (melanin) of skin cells, which impart normal color to your skin, occurs resulting in white patches on the affected skin. Even though vitiligo happens to be a harmless skin disorder medically, it affects the social life of the patient adversely. Vitiligo-affected skin area varies from person to person. It can affect various parts of your body, and it can also affect eyes, hair, and area within the mouth. It is a photosensitive condition such that vitiligo-affected areas are more sensitive to the sunlight than the rest of the skin.

Occurrence Of Vitiligo:

Vitiligo causes due to either of the two processes which are mentioned below:

1. Melanin Cell Destruction: This causes the loss of normal skin color resulting in white patches of vitiligo.

2. Defective Melanin Formation Process: Due to the faulty melanin formation process, normal skin color is not formed resulting in patches of vitiligo.

You can find vitiligo-affected individuals throughout the world. Vitiligo happens to affect about 2% of the total global population, which includes the population comprising white skin individuals. Around 8% of total Indian & Mexican population tends to suffer from this skin disorder. As per the survey carried out by the American Academy of Dermatology, about 1% to 2% of Americans in the USA tend to suffer from vitiligo.

Both males & females happen to get affected by vitiligo equally. This skin condition can develop at any age. The children of all age groups are affected by it. Vitiligo in childhood is common.

We, at Life Force, have vitiligo patients of most nationalities (from more than 180 countries) possessing different skins under our care. So, we got a unique opportunity to understand this skin condition in a much better manner than what other ordinary clinics can.

What Causes Vitiligo?

Even though the exact vitiligo-cause is not yet known, there are various causes known to be responsible for the development of this skin disorder. Several external and internal factors may predispose, worsen, or trigger, or maintain the unpleasant process which causes the onset of vitiligo. Most cases of this disease have a mix of various causes.

Find some of the commonly known causes of vitiligo:

  1. Autoimmune Cause: When the melanocytes in your skin happen to get destroyed mistakenly by the immune system, vitiligo occurs. As per the medical observations, particular genes present in the body may make the individual more likely to suffer from vitiligo. An overactive immune system too may be a vitiligo cause. As per a medical study, neuropeptide (i.e. NYP) may be responsible for the damage of melanin. The release of neuropeptide may occur as a response to emotional stress or skin injury, thus it happens due to a combination of causative factors.

  2. Hormonal Changes: A hormonal disorder may cause vitiligo. Disorder of certain hormones, such as melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) or thyroid hormone, can be one of the vitiligo causes. Hormonal changes occurring in the body, for instance, during the teenage, might be responsible for the progression of vitiligo. The occurrence of vitiligo and any other hormonal disorder simultaneously can occur due to an underlying genetic aspect.

  3. Genetic/Hereditary Factor: Vitiligo may run in families. 20% to 30% of familial incidences of vitiligo are noted among the family members of the affected individuals. If one or both the parents happen to suffer from vitiligo, the chances are that their child to may develop the same. But, it’s not a rule. In several cases of vitiligo, family history of this disease is not present.

    We came across a crucial observation by studying several patients that most vitiligo affected individuals have one of their family members suffering from either one or more of the below-mentioned autoimmune ailments.

    a. Vitiligo
    b. Hypothyroid or an underactive thyroid
    c. Diabetes
    d. Alopecia Areata (patchy hair loss)
    e. Cancer
    f. Other auto-immune diseases (such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lichen planus, etc.)
    g. Vitiligo after injury

  4. Neural theory

  5. Autocytotoxic theory: According to this theory, melanocytes get self-destructed and so does the melanin. This might happen due to the neural, genetic, stress, or immunological factors.

  6. Stress

  7. Exposure To Certain Chemicals:

 

 

Symptoms Of Vitiligo:

One of the most common symptoms of vitiligo is the development of one or more milky white depigmented spot. You may find a single white spot or plenty of them present on your skin. Also, the shape of the white spot varies from round or circular to irregular.

You may find an occurrence of generalized de-pigmentation over the entire body, in a very few cases of this skin disease. Usually, vitiligo begins with a single spot and it expands in number as well as size. The affected individual may develop single to plenty of spots on his back, limbs, or abdomen that later spread to various other body parts. In some cases of vitiligo, the hair of the patient may turn grey indicating the loss of melanin at the hair roots.

Certain vitiligo cases, where the body areas such as finger-tips, area around the eyes, corners of the mouth, and genitals are affected by this ailment, tend to come under mucocutaneous junction category. Just like the spread of vitiligo is generally slow and progressive, its healing timespan too is quite long. Also, the symmetrical occurrence of the spots on the body’s both sides (for instance, hands, legs, etc) is common.

In a very few and rare cases, the vitiligo happens to affect and spread over the entire body of the person. Even though it’s a common concern of most patients whether this disorder would spread to all their body areas, it happens quite rarely.

 
 
 
 

How Vitiligo Spreads?

Here are some factors which are responsible for the spread of vitiligo to various body areas of the affected individual.

1. Genetic activity
2. Continued Stress factors
3. Hormonal factors
4. Exposure to chemicals

Actually, it is not possible to anticipate the pace at which the vitiligo would spread. In several patients of vitiligo, this skin ailment begins with a single white spot and the person might not even develop more spots for plenty of years or throughout his life. On the contrary, in some patients, vitiligo may spread quite rapidly, i.e. from one white spot to hundreds of spots, in just a few months. In some cases, vitiligo may spread intermittently. With a rich experience, it is observed that individuals whose certain body areas, such as finger-tips, are affected by this unpleasant skin disease are at greater risk of experiencing an aggressive spread. However, it’s not a rule. Some patients may develop grey hair, which indicates a loss of pigment in the hair root.

Vitiligo Treatment

Today, vitiligo treatments are available in various systems of medicine:

1. Conventional Vitiligo Treatment
2. Ayurvedic (Herbal) Treatment For Vitiligo
3. Surgical Treatment
4. Homeopathic Treatment For Vitiligo

Also Read: Best Homeopathic Remedies To Treat Vitiligo

1. Conventional Treatment For Vitiligo:

Vitiligo treatment aims at improving and increasing the formation of melanin in the skin areas having white patches. Every patient of this skin disease responds to the treatment in a different manner. And, a specific treatment may not work out for all the patients. Without a clear knowledge of the cause of vitiligo, there is no ideal treatment for it. Here are some conventional treatments for vitiligo.

A. Medical Treatment:

Depending on the severity and type of vitiligo along with the health, age, and preference of the affected individual, a particular type of treatment is chosen. One or more combinations of treatments are recommended to alleviate vitiligo.

B· Topical PUVA Therapy:

Topical psoralen photochemotherapy is recommended to the vitiligo-affected individuals, who have only a few depigmented patches present on a specific or limited part of their body. It is recommended for kids of 2 years of age and older having the localized spots or patches of vitiligo.

C· UVB Phototherapy:

As a matter of fact, narrowband UVB therapy is known to be more effectual vitiligo treatment in promoting the re-pigmentation than PUVA therapy. UVB phototherapy aims certain small lesions in particular. Radiations are directed to distinct skin areas by using selective narrow-band UV-B (311 nm) along with the fiber optics technique.

D· Oral PUVA Therapy:

People who have an extensive vitiligo, i.e. vitiligo has affected over 20% of their body, are recommended to go for Oral PUVA Therapy. Also, affected individuals who fail to respond to topical PUVA therapy are given Oral PUVA therapy. Usually, oral psoralen is not suggested for the kids who are below 10 years of age, as it can increase the risk of eye damage resulting due to the conditions, such as cataracts.

E· Excimer Laser:

Vitiligo treatment given by using 308-nm xenon chloride excimer laser is known to be a quite effective, well-tolerated, and safe treatment, when it comes to treating a chronic stable vitiligo which is restricted to lesser than 30% of area of the body. This treatment works via immunomodulation by impacting T cells. When going for this vitiligo treatment, you may need it for greater than 12 to achieve satisfactory outcomes.

F· Topical Therapy

Also, vitiligo is treated by using the topical therapy. Corticosteroids, methoxsalen, calcineurin inhibitors, and trioxsalen are some effective tropical agents which are utilized to carry out this therapy. Even though this therapy treats vitiligo significantly, it has a few adverse effects.

2. Ayurvedic (Herbal) Treatment For Vitiligo:

Ayurveda, which is a Sanskrit word with a meaning that ‘science of life’. As per Ayurveda, life of a human being is a union of mind, body, soul, and senses. A 2000-years-old outstanding Indian Ayurvedic literature well-known as ‘Charaka Samhita’ explains vitiligo as ‘Kilasa’ or ‘Svitra’ along with some incredible suggestions for its treatment.

Some expert and learned Ayurvedic physicians suggest the technique of therapeutic bloodletting (which is called Raktamoksha). It can be performed either by applying leeches topically on the vitiligo affected skin areas or by using a surgical knife or a syringe for the same from the affected regions of the skin as per the therapy. Excess of pitta dosha present in the ‘rakta dhatu’ is eliminated by this technique.

Popular Ayurvedic Remedies For Vitiligo: Some common yet effective Ayurvedic remedies for treating this skin condition are Trivanga Bhasma, Khadirarishta, Arogya Vardhini, and Mahamanjishthadi Qadha (decoction). They are often used as traditional Ayurvedic remedies for treating problems of vitiligo.

Herbal Remedies For Vitiligo: Some effective herbal remedies for treating vitiligo include Vidanga, Manjishtha, Daruharidra, Bavachi, Saariva, Haridra, Triphala, and Khadir.

3. Surgical Treatment For Vitiligo:

When various medical therapies fail to treat vitiligo effectively, surgical therapies are recommended. Usually, surgical treatment is recommended for treating stable and localized vitiligo. Often, body areas, such as ankles, hairline, dorsal fingers, and forehead, lack the tendency of re-pigmentation.

Vitiligo affected individuals who have just small skin areas affected by this condition with a stable activity are best suited for surgical transplants. Generally, the surgical treatment and methods are quite time-consuming and costly. Also, surgical vitiligo treatments are not paid off by the insurance carriers.

Surgical Modalities Comprises:

A· Autologous skin grafts:

This surgical technique works by removing the skin from an area of the body of a patient and attaching it to some other area of his body. Patients who have small skin areas with vitiligo patches are recommended to go for skin grafting. However, it is important to note that skin grafting surgical treatment needs time and is quite expensive. So, many patients do not find it affordable or pleasant.

B· Skin Grafts Using Blisters:

This surgical process works by developing blisters on the pigmented skin area of the affected individuals by utilizing the heat, freezing cold, and suction. Thereafter, the tops of these created blisters are cut out as per the procedure and transplanted to the other skin area which is depigmented due to vitiligo. However, this surgical process comes with the risks of deprivation of re-pigmentation and scarring. But, as compared to other skin grafting types of procedures, the risk of scarring with this technique is quite less.

C· Punch Mini-Grafting:

Punch mini-grafting is another vitiligo treatment carried out by using surgical technique. It utilizes small grafts of the donor, which are implanted into recipient sites’ incision and then, by using a pressure dressing, they are properly held in the place. The grafts then happen to heal easily and, in the timespan of 4 to 6 weeks, it shows re-pigmentation. Even though the pebbling remains, it is minimum, and you happen to get an outstanding cosmetic outcome.

D· Micro-Pigmentation (Tattooing):

In surgical method of micro-pigmentation, a special surgical tool is used to implant the required pigment into the affected area of the skin. This vitiligo treatment is known to be the best for treating the lip area, especially in the individuals with a dark skin.

4 Homeopathic Treatment for Vitiligo:

Homeopathy is one the best and most effective vitiligo treatments when it comes to vitiligo cure. Homeopathic approach is unique and it relies on the philosophy of improving the patient’s innate healing capacity. And, this is then accomplished by having a homeopathic medicine which is effective in correcting the disturbed or altered immunity that had resulted in the development of vitiligo.

How To Cope Up With Vitiligo?

1. Coping Up With Vitiligo As A Patient:

Coping up with vitiligo as a patient is quite challenging. First of all, you need to understand this fact properly at vitiligo is a completely harmless skin disease and, definitely, it is not a serious ailment. In comparison to other health problems, such as asthma, allergy, and frequent colds, vitiligo is less severe. And, you are not the only one who is experiencing it as greater than 20% of world population happens to suffer from this skin condition.

Even though vitiligo brings out a significant change in your appearance, it does not affect your body internally in any way. So, you need to learn to tackle vitiligo with a positive outlook and opt for the right approach.

Learn not to feel low, embarrassed, worried, ashamed, or depressed thinking how other people will react to your condition. Do not avoid being a part of social situations, events, parties, and networking. Once the people know that you have vitiligo, which is not infectious or contagious, they will learn to accept it. Certain safe products are available these days to offer an outstanding camouflage of spots of vitiligo. Seek for an advice of a doctor, who is specialized in handling vitiligo cases.

2. Coping Up With Vitiligo As A Parent:

As per the medical studies and observations, usually, kids cope with the vitiligo the best, better when their parents or guardians do not turn overanxious about their condition. If you, as a parent, get over conscious about your kid’s vitiligo then it may create more trouble for your dear little one than what actual vitiligo could. So, it is important for the parents to overcome theirs over anxiousness and over consciousness.

Make your child understand that vitiligo is just a benign skin condition and not serious at all.

As a parent, you understand your kid and explain and teach him how to answer his friends, relatives, and teachers if they would inquire about his skin problem. Teach your child to answer firmly and without any concern about the insignificant nature of this skin condition.

Have a word with some of your close friends and relatives, such as uncles, aunts, grandparents, teachers, and neighbors) and inform them of this skin problem affecting your kid. Most importantly, request all of them to not to discuss or inquire about it with your child.

Do not discuss with your kid about his vitiligo often. In addition to this, make sure you avoid negative discussion about it during the presence of your little one. Prefer to examine the spots on your child’s body when he/she is asleep.

When your affected little one would question you asking whether his skin spots can be get rid of or treated, explain your kid calmly that, like other skin issues, his skin condition can be treated effectively to a certain extent.

Make sure you support your child to lead the life with a positive attitude. Motivate your child to learn and participate in various activities. Encourage your child to develop hobbies. Do not let vitiligo affect your kid’s joy, self-esteem, and happy life adversely.

Avoid restricting your kid from flaunting outfits which may expose the white patches of vitiligo on his skin. Encourage your little one to continue to be the part of social events and pursue various activities, such as swimming, sports, hiking, parties, and other healthy activities.

Unknowingly, several parents happen to make their child more conscious of their unpleasant skin condition by getting panic about it. Do not do so. Instead, boost your kid’s self-confidence. Do not allow vitiligo to hamper his growth as a positive person.

Also Read: Precautions to be taken by a vitiligo patients

3. Coping Up With Vitiligo As A Citizen (who does not suffer from vitiligo):

Being a civilized and matured person, we should develop and have a healthy outlook towards those individuals who happen to suffer from vitiligo. We must understand that vitiligo is a non-infectious, benign skin condition. Individuals who tend to suffer from it also happen to undergo an emotional trauma which is often coming along with vitiligo. So, make sure you do not keep staring at a vitiligo-affected individual. It is one of the bad manners to make a person with vitiligo feel embarrassed.

Avoid discussing and asking a vitiligo patient what his skin condition is, how did it happen, and other question which would make the patient feel awkward and embarrassed. As a matter of fact, people affected with vitiligo do not need sympathy or pity. What they need is simply proper understanding.

How Does Homeopathy Help In Vitiligo Treatment?

Homeopathy is one of the best treatments for vitiligo, as it offers a good scope of recovery patients in all stages of this skin condition. Here is how homeopathy helps in treating vitiligo.

  • Initial stage and milder cases of vitiligo respond excellently to homeopathy. Vitiligo is curable, most often, in such cases.

  • In the cases of moderate and spreading vitiligo, you can achieve a good control over the spread and have a partial color formation with homeopathy.

  • Also, homeopathy can control the rapidly spreading cases of vitiligo. In cases with extensive spread of vitiligo, achieving a good control over the spread vitiligo is also regarded as a success.

How Homeopathic Medicines Work To Benefit The Patient?

Homeopathic medicines are quite effective in treating and alleviating vitiligo.

  • Homeopathic remedies help in regulating the spread of the white patches of vitiligo by working on the immunity and rectifying the altered immune system of the affected individual.

  • Homeopathy enhances melanogenesis process and promotes the production of the natural melanocyte.

  • It regulates genetic disposition by effectively utilizing miasmatic medicines.

  • At times, hormonal imbalance is responsible for vitiligo. Homeopathy works on it and corrects the hormonal imbalance, such as imbalance occurring due to an underactive thyroid.

  • Homeopathy effectively treats the after effects occurring due to the environmental factors, for instance, effects due to the exposure to the chemicals.

  • Also, homeopathy supports in dealing with the adverse effects of emotional stress and anxiety which may have stimulated the disease process of leukoderma. You can tackle stress and emotional tensions effectively with homeopathy.

  • Homeopathy treats the patient by an individualistic approach where each patient is effectively treated depending on his/her particular case details.

Duration Of Treatment For Vitiligo:

Vitiligo is a chronic and obstinate skin condition which is quite difficult to treat so it’s largely incurable. It takes a long time to achieve the desired results with a vitiligo treatment, as this ailment is often long-standing and chronic. The exact duration of recovery from this skin condition can’t be predicted. However, homeopathy provides an excellent and most effective treatment without any side-effects. It boosts the morale and provides a hope for better to most of the cases of vitiligo. Most individuals affected by vitiligo experience improvement in 4 to 8 weeks of homeopathic treatment. The length of homeopathic treatment ranges from 6 months to 2 years or more. The duration of the treatment and the extent of vitiligo cure also depend on various factors as mentioned below.

  • Age Group: Kids and young individuals respond to the vitiligo treatment in a better way than adults.

  • Extent Of Spread: Single or a few white spots or patches (2 to 9) tend to respond to the treatment in a better and more effective way than a large number of spots or patches.

  • Size Of Patches: Smaller sized patches respond to the treatment in better and more effectively than the larger sized patches. Quite large sized patches (which are greater than 5 inches in size) may fail to respond.

  • Symmetry Of Patches: Unilateral patches of vitiligo which are present on either side of the body respond better and more significantly than symmetrically and bilaterally distributed patches of vitiligo.

  • Affected Area: White spots or patches of vitiligo present on fingertips, corners of the mouth, and lips and other such areas may not respond well. They can be controlled effectively if the affected person takes the treatment for a long period of time.

Foods To Eat & Foods To Avoid To Beat Vitiligo:

Vitiligo is an auto-immune, difficult skin condition which affects the individuals of any age group, constitution, and sex worldwide. The affected person experiences a loss of normal color of the skin and develops white spots or patches on various body areas. Loss of pigment cells, which impart normal skin color, leads to vitiligo. And, there are certain foods which are responsible for hindering the formation of pigment-forming cells (i.e. melanocytes). So, if you avoid consuming such harmful foods and include healthy foods to your diet it can help you beat this skin condition substantially. Find below some dos & don’ts which would help you achieve a speedy recovery from vitiligo.

Dos

Don’ts

Do include plenty of fresh fruits (not sour ones) and nutritious vegetables in your regular diet when you are suffering from vitiligo.

Prefer to eat a greater amount of vegetarian foods.

Don’t eat sour foods, such as oranges, Chinese foods (or delicacies containing soy sauces & vinegar), lemons, over-fermented foods, raw mango, tomato ketchup, sour curd, and pickles.

Do get exposed to the early morning sun or the setting sun for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Do apply sunscreen if you need to go out in the sun anytime between 10 am to 4 pm.

Do not eat seafood, such as shrimps, fish, lobsters, prawns, and crabs when suffering from vitiligo.

Do stay pleasant & happy and avoid getting stressed out.

Don’t consume non-vegetarian foods, canned foods, & foods comprising preservatives and artificial colors for obtaining a better recovery.

 

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