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Vitiligo is a skin disorder characterized by areas of the skin that have lost their natural color, resulting in white patches. It isn’t an infection or a form of cancer, but it can cause emotional distress. The condition is also known as leucoderma. In some cases, the white patches are permanent. In others, they fade away over time and disappear completely. Vitiligo often develops slowly. People who have it may not notice any changes for months or even years before the first symptoms appear. Afterward, more pigmented areas gradually lose their color until there is a noticeable difference between them and surrounding normal skin. Let’s know more about Vitiligo and how early treatment can help to reverse Vitiligo.
What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is primarily a skin condition, but it can also affect hair, nails, or eyes. The main feature of the state is depigmentation (loss of color) in various parts of the body, most commonly areas exposed to sunlight, such as hands and face. Vitiligo occurs when melanocytes- pigment cells that are responsible for skin color – die or stop working. Your immune system destroys these cells. It’s unknown exactly why the immune system attacks these cells, but it seems related to genetics.
Types of Vitiligo:
There are several types of Vitiligo identified according to causes and how fast it spreads:
- Segmental Vitiligo: it is the earliest clinically detectable subtype of Vitiligo. It affects one half, one quarter, or a smaller section of the body at first. It generally progresses to involve the entire side of the body.
- Non-segmental Vitiligo: it can appear on any part of your body, and it doesn’t always affect both sides equally. As with segmental Vitiligo, this type can also spread to involve large portions of your skin, including your arms, legs, and torso – but why it often begins in these areas is unknown. The cause is an autoimmune disorder, as in cases with Vitiligo.
What are the causes of Vitiligo?
- Autoimmune Disease: A disorder that occurs when antibodies mistakenly attack healthy tissue and destroy body cells is called an autoimmune disorder. In some cases, Vitiligo may be linked to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or even rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and type 1 diabetes.
- Nerve Disorders:Some people who lose color in their skin patches also experience vision problems such as blurred vision and changes in light sensitivity. At least partially due to damage to the optic nerve, this loss of pigment may be associated with neuropathy – a disease affecting peripheral nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. Vitamin B-12 deficiency, or a condition called Addison’s disease, may also trigger nerve disorders, leading to Vitiligo.
- Heredity: Vitiligo is a potentially inherited disorder if it runs in your family. If your relatives have had melanoma, chances are higher that you will also develop the disease – both conditions are linked to genetic mutations.
- Side effect of the drug: Some drugs may increase your risk of developing the disorder by suppressing the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses, bacteria, and other substances that can cause disease. These include antibiotics, cancer medications, antiretroviral AIDS medications, and some heart medications.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals:Exposing yourself to large amounts of certain metals or harmful chemicals might be another environmental trigger for Vitiligo. Exposure to these substances may make an autoimmune reaction more likely in people genetically at risk by damaging their DNA or triggering mutations in their genes.
How does Vitiligo spread?
Vitiligo spreads when new white patches develop in areas where pigment has already been lost. As the disorder progresses, affected areas can enlarge, and more white patches appear as Vitiligo spreads to new parts of the body. Segmental Vitiligo generally has a slower rate of progression than non-segmental forms, which are typically applied to adjacent skin.
How can early diagnosis treat vitiligo?
The earlier the diagnosis is made, the better it is for you. The skin starts to turn white in about six months and gradually spreads over one year. It will then become permanent and irreversible if not treated promptly. Vitiligo is diagnosed by identifying the following characteristics: Skin with a lopsided loss of pigment and its colour is very pale or white in appearance, there are no other associated skin conditions such as psoriasis, diabetes mellitus, leprosy, etc., and it affects more than one area of your body.
Can vitiligo be cured in the early stages?
If vitiligo is diagnosed in its early stages, it can be treated to prevent further spread. Some people experience complete repigmentation of their skin, but this may take years. It depends on factors, including how long you have had Vitiligo and whether you are participating in treatment or not. Early diagnosis also helps because when there are no signs of the disease spreading, your chances of developing scars are much lower – if detected at an early stage.
What are the ways vitiligo is treated?
- Medications: Several treatments are used to stop Vitiligo from progressing – including steroid creams, vitamin supplements, medications that suppress your immune system, and other types of topical or oral medications.
- Alternative medicine:Some herbal remedies have been proven effective in treating vitiligo – especially Aloe Vera gel. It is also essential to eat a healthy diet high in Iron and Vitamin B-12, which helps stimulate hair growth.
- Phototherapy: This involves exposing your skin to certain types of ultraviolet light to help control the rate at which pigment cells turn over and die naturally in your skin – thereby reducing the appearance of white patches and spots caused by Vitiligo.
- Surgery: Your dermatologist may recommend surgical treatment in some cases – especially if vitiligo is on your face or hands. This involves removing white patches of skin and replacing them with healthy skin from another part of your body, such as your forearm or thigh.
- Combination therapy: Combination therapies are often used to treat Vitiligo. These include using more than one medication or light source at the same time. For example, you might receive treatments with UVA and UVB lamps together with a steroid cream to treat recurring Vitiligo spots on both of your arms.
What are the natural ways to prevent vitiligo?
- Vitamin supplements: Taking vitamin supplements can help to prevent Vitiligo from spreading. Vitamin B12, C, and E are considered helpful in the prevention of Vitiligo.
- Sunlight Exposure: The sun’s ultraviolet rays contain powerful natural antioxidants that protect against free radical damage to the skin cells. This is why it is advised that you should spend some time outdoors in direct sunlight every day without using sunscreen – which blocks the sun’s UV rays and prevents Vitiligo spots from fading.
- Lifestyle changes:Certain lifestyle choices can also affect your chances of developing Vitiligo, such as smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, and stress – all these things increase cell damage and make them more likely to develop into white patches when exposed to the sun.
- Eat healthily: Healthy diet that contains Vitamins B6, C, and E protects your skin against sun damage. You should avoid foods rich in saturated fats because they can lead to insulin resistance which is another trigger of vitiligo. It is also essential to reduce caffeine intake because it may cause severe stress and anxiety, resulting in premature aging of the skin or even Vitiligo.
- Yoga:As we discussed, stress is a trigger for Vitiligo and yoga helps to reduce stress and anxiety by calming down your mind and body. It increases the level of GABA (an anti-anxiety hormone) in your brain, which relaxes your mood, reduces irritability, helps you sleep better, increases the energy levels in the body, boosts immunity against diseases, etc.
- Meditation:A research study on transcendental meditation published in Psychosomatic Medicine Journal stated that reducing stress indicators like anxiety, insomnia symptoms, etc., by practicing transcendental meditation twice per day for six months may help treat the early stages of Vitiligo.
- Protect skin from direct exposure to the sun: You can do thisby wearing light-colored clothes or specially designed t-shirts – keep in mind that sunlight is significantly damaging for people with vitiligo. Also, avoid using sunscreens because they block out the UV rays and prevent the elimination of pigment cells.
- Wear sunglasses when you are outside –ultraviolet radiation also affects your eyes, so it is advisable to wear sunglasses even if you do not have any white patches on your face.
- Apply Aloe Vera geldirectly on vitiligo spots because this natural product has been shown to help reverse the course of Vitiligo because of its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties.
- Coconut oil:Another natural product that can prevent the development of Vitiligo is coconut oil which has been used to treat a variety of skin disorders from ancient times. It helps improve blood circulation to the affected areas, moisturizes the damaged skin cells, and prevents protein loss in these cells due to decreased blood flow – all this may help reverse Vitiligo.
- Vitamin D:According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vitamin D plays a crucial role in fighting against autoimmune diseases like Vitiligo that cause skin cell damage. The deficiency of vitamin D in our body triggers vitiligo onset in specific individuals because it affects the immune system by hampering its ability to fight infections effectively and stop the spread of the condition. So it is advisable to take vitamin D supplements and eat foods rich in Vitamin D, such as fish, eggs, milk, etc.
- Olive oil: Olive oil has many health benefits. Some studies show that it can also help treat Vitiligo by stimulating melanin’s production and secretion, which gives skin its color or pigment. Since Vitiligo causes your skin to produce less melanin, it is essential to bring back the lost melanin by using olive oil. Just apply a few drops of olive oil on the affected skin several times a day, and you will see visible results after only a week or two of application.
A skin doctor or dermatologist is the right person to visit to treat Vitiligo, but when do you need to consult them?
- It is advisable to visit a skin specialist for treating Vitiligo whenever you start noticing white patches on your skin because it will help prevent further damage. So if there are no signs of any patchy areas on the body, then you can wait for another year before consulting an expert dermatologist. But remember that stopping vitiligo at the early stages is always easier than curing it in a later stage, so see your doctor as soon as possible after noticing white spots on your skin.
- You can also visit a homeopathy doctor. Homeopathic treatment for vitiligo is one of the best treatments available today. It treats vitiligo from the source and helps in its prevention from reoccurring at a later stage too. Hence homeopathy is also one of the best treatments for vitiligo.
- Vitiligo can be cured, but you always need to see your doctor first before trying any home remedies or homeopathic medication because if it has spread all over your body, then there may not be any treatment for it except surgical removal of affected skin patches, which do not always give good results. Even with surgery, there are chances that your skin pigmentation will return after some time, further damaging your self-esteem. So here, the best option is prevention rather than cure!
- Most vitiligo patients suffer from mental and psychological problems due to their condition, so they need to visit a homeopathy doctor and have the proper treatment done. Homeopathic treatment for vitiligo offers holistic treatment. It also helps build the patient’s self-confidence and reduces their mental stress by making them aware of vitiligo and its various types.
- It is advised to take advice from a registered homeopathic doctor who can guide the patient about their disease and provide proper treatment that cures one form of vitiligo and helps prevent it from coming back again. Many skin doctors are available today who offer all kinds of other treatments like laser therapy, medicines, etc., to treat Vitiligo after studying each patient’s case individually. So, try consulting skin doctors whenever you need guidance about your condition or want to cure Vitiligo naturally at home without any side effects. For more information, you can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy!