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Yes, vitiligo can appear overnight. Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes the development of white patches on your skin and hair. When pigment cells die and new ones fail to come and take their place, the distinct white patches develop. The reason why it appears overnight is not known precisely, but doctors believe that genetic factors combined with many environmental reasons work together to cause this disease.
What causes vitiligo?
There are two theories as to what causes vitiligo:
1) The first theory suggests that people who suffer from autoimmune diseases such as Vitiligo are genetically predisposed to the condition. It is believed that genes or family history are responsible for autoimmune diseases or conditions of the immune system attacking healthy cells in the body.
2) The second theory suggests that vitiligo is an inflammatory disease that causes white patches on the skin due to certain chemicals in the body that cause the surrounding pigment cells to die.
How do you get vitiligo?
It is not contagious but can be passed down through families. When your body fails to recognize its cells, it can attack healthy skin cells and damage them so much that they eventually die. It’s estimated that about 0.5% – 2% of the world population has or will develop vitiligo at some point in their life. Unfortunately, there are no known cures for this condition at this point.
What are the symptoms of vitiligo?
There are many symptoms of this condition, which include:
White patches of skin that are devoid of pigment cells
-Patches are typically either symmetrical or random in distribution – i.e., they can appear on both sides of the body, or one patch may appear on the top of the foot, and another may appear closer to the wrist
Spots can be any size or shape but are typically round in shape
– Patches tend to become more visible in areas with less protection from clothing because clothing absorbs melanin, which is responsible for making your skin pigmented.
What are the forms of vitiligo?
The two main types of vitiligo are generalized vitiligo (which is widespread), and segmental vitiligo (which only affects certain parts of the body)
Vitiligo can appear overnight, but it can also come up slowly over several years. The cause is still unknown, but many doctors believe it develops due to genetic factors combined with environmental conditions such as stress, emotional upheavals, and sunburn.
It is a more common form of the condition and typically affects one side of the body only. For example, it may occur on half of the face but not the other half. It tends to develop earlier than generalized vitiligo and can appear at any age after puberty. This type is likely due to an autoimmune reaction and emotional or physical stress that weakens your immune system such that pigment cells start dying off at a rapid rate.
What triggers vitiligo?
- A patient with vitiligo has a genetic mutation that disables the pigment cells to produce melanin. This may depend on several factors, including stress and emotional upheaval, which can suppress the immune system.
- Emotional stress may lead to the inflammation of certain parts of your skin, which can cause pigment cells to start dying off at a rapid rate. The autoimmune condition in vitiligo is caused by genes, family history, and the environment working together.
- In those diagnosed with familial or generalized vitiligo, it is believed to be triggered by environmental factors such as exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun over an extended period, hormonal changes, drugs, and even chemical exposures in some individuals.
- Segmental vitiligo appears to run in families and is more likely caused by autoimmune disease. Family history plays a role in this condition because you might also develop this skin disorder if another family member has it.
Although not everyone who gets this disease has family members with the same skin disorder, it’s essential to keep in mind that you can pass vitiligo down to your children.
What to do to prevent vitiligo?
The best way to prevent vitiligo, in this case, is to know your family’s medical history and avoid things that can suppress the immune system. These are:
- Stress-Doctors believe that stress can cause inflammation in the skin, which makes pigment cells start to die.
- Excessive sun exposure-Avoid too much time in the sun or spend some time out of it as it may lead to high levels of stress and suppress your immune system.
- Certain drugs –Some medications, such as Lithium (used for treating bipolar disorder), can make your immune system more vulnerable to potential triggers like excessive sun exposure.
- Chemical exposure – Exposure to chemicals can weaken your immune system, making it more susceptible to triggers like sunburns, environmental pollutants, etc.
- Smoking – If you smoke, your immune system will become weakened over time and more likely to trigger vitiligo
- Excessive alcohol – Alcohol can also suppress your immune system and lead to the effects of vitiligo.
- Autoimmune diseases-If you have autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis, or Sjorgren syndrome, then it is recommended that you avoid having children until these conditions are well under control since they might increase your risk of developing vitiligo later on in life.
How does vitiligo spread?
Usually, when people get Vitiligo, it begins as one or two small white spots on their skin. Then these spots slowly spread to other areas of the body. The rate at which Vitiligo spreads is different for every person. Sometimes your vitiligo may spread quickly, and it can stay the same for years in other cases.
Vitiligo is not a contagious nor hereditary condition. It is not an allergy or any life-threatening disease but merely a cosmetic issue or problem associated with your skin tone. You should consult a dermatologist if you want to get rid of the discoloration on your skin, whether it’s due to Vitiligo or something else like age spots, hyperpigmentation, etc. They will recommend the best treatment available.
How is vitiligo diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, family history of Vitiligo and scrutinize your skin. They might also take a small sample of the affected skin for testing. A skin doctor might refer you to a dermatologist or skin specialist for further tests.
What are the available vitiligo treatments?
- Topical corticosteroids: (applied on your skin) They are among the most common treatments used to treat Vitiligo. Corticosteroids help boost your immune system and slow down the process of Vitiligo.
- Psoralen photochemotherapy:(a type of light treatment), also known as PUVA (Psoralen + UVA). This treatment is more effective for darker skin types.
- Excimer laser therapy: This treatment works by finding changing wavelengths of laser light that can help stimulate pigment production in the areas where vitiligo is present. It’s recommended if you have monochromatic lesions (in one color).
- Narrowband UVB phototherapy: This type of phototherapy helps produce melanin, which leads to repigmentation, changing your skin tone back to what it used to be before the condition started.
- Micropigmentation / cosmetic tattooing:This is a permanent form of makeup that can cover the white spots on your skin.
- Camouflage:Camouflage is a cosmetic treatment designed to mask Vitiligo. It includes using coloured cosmetics applied to skin creases and wrinkles or other areas where Vitiligo does not occur.
- Surgery: This type of treatment involves the removal of white patches from your skin by surgically cutting them away. It can be used for larger areas affected by Vitiligo as it’s an effective way to gain hair, restore function, and improve appearance.
What is the natural vitiligo treatment?
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. People with vitamin B12 deficiency, especially vegans or vegetarians who don’t eat meat/fish, are more likely to develop Vitiligo.
- Vitamin A:Vitamin A controls different aspects of your immune system (antioxidants). The deficiency of this vitamin could be linked to the development of white spots on the skin.
- Selenium: These mineral boosts antioxidant enzyme activity in your body by fighting toxins like free radicals that can cause cell damage, leading to vitiligo.
- Zinc:It has antioxidant properties (helps prevent oxidative stress), which makes it beneficial for preventing Vitiligo. You can get zinc from various foods like beef, poultry, liver, and seafood.
- Fish/Walnut Oils: Fish oil is beneficial for your heart health, while walnut oil has essential fatty acids that are linked to the improvement of skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, etc. They are also rich in antioxidant properties that can help fight oxidative stress and also facilitate hair re-growth.
- Vitamin Ehelps protect your body from damage caused by free radicals like those found in cigarette smoke or pollution that can lead to Vitiligo.
- Exercise: Exercising regularly (or exposure to sunlight) boosts your immune system; this is how you can naturally treat vitiligo and hopefully win the battle against it.
- Stay away from Stress:Stress has been linked as a significant factor triggering vitiligo flare-ups, so don’t let stress take over your life – do what you love doing to stay happy!
- Stay away from toxins: Cigarette smoke, chemical substances in household products, or pollution can cause havoc in your system leading to Vitiligo. So try staying away from them as much as you can.
- Change your diet: Studies have linked that people who eat more fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop Vitiligo than those who don’t, so why not give it a go? You’ll notice the benefits soon enough 🙂
- Vitamin C:It has antioxidant properties that fight oxidative stress and boost your immune system.
- Go for sunbathing: This might seem counterintuitive, but sunlight is one of the best ways to treat vitiligo naturally. It is not something you should be afraid of – it’s just another condition affecting your skin, so try going out more often. Studies have shown how people with white spots on their skin tend to experience a reduction in those areas after being exposed to sunlight for more extended periods.
- Homeopathic treatment for vitiligo: When it comes to holistic therapy, homeopahty is one of the best and safest options. You can go for homeopathic medicines that cater to your skin type and individual needs. Homeopathic treatment for vitiligo treats the root cause of vitiligo and also associated symptoms of vitiligo.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, and homeopathy has shown excellent results in treating autoimmune diseases. Homeopathic remedies for vitiligo works by regulating the immune system and helping it work appropriately without attacking body tissues that result in patches on the skin.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means homeopathic remedies for vitiligo also work on other systems of your body to improve your general health. It helps reduce stress, which can contribute to developing vitiligo.
Homeopathy doctors have a wide range of vitiligo homeopathic medicines to choose from that can be used to treat skin depigmentation, including but not limited to Lycopodium, Arsenicum album, Carcinosin, Natrum muriaticum, Psorinum. They also have a range of medications that work well with vitiligo homeopathic treatment. These include Cimicifuga racemosa, Arsenicum Album, Lycopodium Clavatum, Sarsaparilla Officinalis, Calcarea Carbonica, Myrrha, and Squilla Maritima. For the proper treatment, it is suggested that you visit a registered homeopathy doctor. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy for more information.