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Vitiligo is traditionally considered an autoimmune disease, thought to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It often runs in families, affects areas of skin that develop the most melanin, and occurs more frequently among patients with other autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata, thyroiditis, and pernicious anemia (i.e., a lack of vitamin B12). Vitiligo can also manifest many possible causes for the breakdown of normal skin pigmentation, including genetics, UV damage, chemicals, hormones like testosterone or progesterone, and certain medications.
In Vitiligo, the loss of skin pigmentation occurs in patches. Patches are usually round or oval and can range from a few millimeters to several inches. The characteristics of each patch are so unique that doctors often use them as a medical identifier. Left untreated for long periods, patches may broaden and merge so that most body becomes affected over time.
What are the symptoms of Vitiligo?
- Patches of depigmented skin, usually in one or more areas of the body.
- Patches are often white but can be pinkish, grayish, or brownish as well.
- Patches of skin with standard color near the edge and a change in texture to roughness increased scale, or thickening at this boundary. These changes may vary from patient to patient and are not always present.
- Patches of normal skin with no signs of variation from the surrounding area or separation between the depigmented and regular areas
- Excessive scaling, thickening, and redness can occur where inflammation is present in small patches or over vast affected skin areas.
- Areas with active inflammation have a distinct border usually marked by redness, thickened tissue, and itching (pruritus). These borders are variable but tend to increase in size until treated.
Depigmentation can also be caused by a variety of other conditions, including:
- Incomplete melanocyte migration during embryonic development
- Environmental factors (both infectious and non-infectious)
- Inborn errors in the production or transport of melanin (inherited). Are there any symptoms associated with Vitiligo? Vitiligo is a skin condition in which patches of the skin lose their natural color, resulting in slightly lighter areas. The amount of pigment loss varies from person to person. Although most commonly seen as white spots, Vitiligo can result in hair-like projections from the skin’s surface that can range in color from milky white to brown or black. Rarely, Vitiligo may cause blistering or a shiny, tanned appearance.
- Because Vitiligo affects only the color of your skin, not its thickness or texture, there may be other symptoms in addition to skin discoloration. Skin exposed to sunlight without proper protection can become thinner and more easily damaged.
How does Vitiligo spread:
The more common and least dangerous way of spreading Vitiligo is known as
Spontaneous Vitiligo: It occurs when healthy patches of skin lose their color while the surrounding skin remains unaffected. In other words, each patch moves independently. Spontaneous Vitiligo usually occurs before age 30 and rarely develops after age 50. Because each patch spreads at its rate and with its pattern, the condition is different for everyone and can take any form, such as lines, shapes, or symmetrical patches.
Non-Spontaneous Vitiligo: Vitiligo can also be caused by Ultraviolet Radiation. UVR causes a breakdown in the skin’s DNA and subsequent loss of pigmentation. Several other possible causes for UV-induced Vitiligo include exposure to certain drugs, contact with industrial chemicals, or even Photochemotherapy for psoriasis using Psoralen combined with ultraviolet light, A more severe form of this condition is called Polymorphic Vitiligo.
Polymorphic Vitiligo: In this variety, an entire area on one side of the body can lose pigment at once; sometimes, much larger areas can also be affected. Unlike Spontaneous Vitiligo, Polymorphic Vitiligo tends to affect the body symmetrically, with whole sides becoming lighter than usual and darker in color than other areas of skin. The arms are more involved than other areas, but this disease can also target the face or legs.
Does Vitiligo cause Pain:
No, it does not cause pain. Vitiligo is a physical condition that causes skin cells to stop working correctly. The lighter patches of skin are formed when melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) die or stop functioning normally.
What are the other conditions associated with Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is also associated with autoimmune disorders such as hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus type 1, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), hypertension (high blood pressure), arthritis, and pernicious anemia. • In addition, children with Vitiligo tend to have lower melanin levels in their hair; many are blonde instead of having darker hair colors. Whether this is caused by genetics or exposure to UVR is unknown. In some cases, Vitiligo can be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as Parkinson’s disease, liver or kidney disease, thyroid hormone deficiency, iron-deficiency anemia.
How Vitiligo is Diagnosed:
A skin doctor or dermatologist can only diagnose Vitiligo. A dermatologist or skin doctor may conduct the following tests to make a diagnosis:
Skin Biopsy: The doctor may scrape off some of the skin and look at it under a microscope for signs of damage, such as reduced melanin or suspicious antibodies.
Dermoscopy: This test magnifies the skin up to 10 times its actual size so that doctors can visually inspect it for colour changes.
Patch Test: In this test, areas of Vitiligo are dosed with different chemicals to determine which ones cause your immune system to respond and produce melanocytes and re-pigment your skin in these areas (this is called repigmentation). If none of the chemical’s work, the doctor may test them elsewhere on your body to see if they work there.
Photo Patch Test: Larger areas of skin are exposed to ultraviolet light and watched for repigmentation.
Treatment of Vitiligo:
Various therapies can treat Vitiligo. Vitiligo treatments bring some improvement in appearance. The objective of the treatment is to induce some pigment in the lighter areas of the skin. The repigmentation is not permanent and may or may not last for a long time depending upon individual patient response to treatment and the extent of the lesion.
Camouflage therapy for Vitiligo:
This method is based on cosmetic products such as skin pencils, powders, and paints. These are used to cover up the areas with white patches to make them less noticeable. Special foundation make-ups may be required for this purpose. Camouflage can only provide a partial solution; it will not cure Vitiligo entirely or permanently. The camouflage should be performed using cosmetics that are hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, without any fragrance or dye. Some of these products can appear unnatural when applied in great quantity over a large skin area, so it is best to practice moderation during application. You may need help using these materials if you have limited dexterity due to Vitiligo on your hands or feet.
Re-pigmentation for Vitiligo through medications:
The following medicines are used to induce repigmentation in Vitiligo:
Topical medication for repigmentation:
These include calcineurin, steroids (betamethasone or triamcinolone), and vitamin A derivatives (retinoids).
Injections for repigmentation Vitiligo:
The most popular treatment for Vitiligo is Pigment Cell Injection Therapy. Repigmentation with injections of melanocytes and stem cells has been in practice since 2009. The treatment involves injection with autologous (from your own body) pigmented stem cells along with multiple courses of injections administered at regular intervals 1-3 months apart until the desired coverage is achieved. These are localized injections through an excellent needle placed over each patch one at a time until they turn a shade of brownish-black. The treatment is painless and safe. Side effects, if present, are mild and manageable with medications prescribed by the doctor.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors: They have some advantages in comparison to steroid injections, particularly their non-occlusive nature. The cost is also relatively lower compared with steroids.
Topical Vitamin D: The use of this agent is every day worldwide; however, its success rate is less than other methods.
Steroids: These drugs are effective but may cause side effects such as thinning skin, stretch marks, and infection at the injection site.
Light Therapy for Vitiligo:
Light therapy is extensively used in the treatment of this condition. It involves exposing affected areas to a particular type of light. This allows the cells to create more pigment or re-pigment themselves. The treatments are often expensive and can be time-consuming, requiring 3 – 6 months for best results. Colored light is not suggested for treating Vitiligo because it may stimulate further destruction of melanocytes in an area where there has already been some loss without producing any repigmentation. Exposure to natural sunlight will result in temporary improvement. Still, it will not change the situation permanently unless long-term exposure (for years) occurs under controlled conditions that protect against burning and skin cancer development.
Grafting tissues from another part of your body (usually from behind the ear) onto the affected area can re-pigment it. Still, there will also be an additional scar at this site following the implementation of this therapy. The risk for this type of surgery may increase with certain medications or complications during the healing time—other risks present, such as infection in the donor site, blood clots, and nerve injury. The chance to reject the new skin is slight but may occur with both allografts (taken from another person) and autografts (taken from your own body).
The surgical removal of affected areas:
This treatment method involves surgery to remove diseased skin in which some or all the melanocytes have been lost. Due to this complication, this type of treatment is used only when Vitiligo has not spread beyond specific points in the body. If these methods fail after repeated attempts, a patient can undertake a procedure known as a melano- transplantation. In this operation, healthy cells are removed from a non-affected area of your body and transplanted into the affected area.
The management of Vitiligo is dependent on certain principles:
- It is essential to follow instructions accurately
- Vitiligo lesions are sensitive photosensitive, and the patient should strictly avoid sunlight exposure. Sunscreen lotions containing UV filters such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, etc., should be used with great care, especially if you have a severe form of Vitiligo called acrofacial variant.
Stress control: Stressful situations may increase your chances of developing Vitiligo.
Diet: Vitiligo patients should avoid foods that may worsen the condition; for example, avoid processed and refined foods such as white bread, pastries, chocolates, etc. Food sources rich in iron are recommended to help prevent anaemia as a consequence of low haemoglobin levels.
Avoid smoking: Smoking is associated with increased destruction of melanocytes in this condition, and hence avoid smoking by all means possible. It can also aggravate other symptoms, such as itching.
Oral contraceptives (birth control pills): These medications are known to cause vitiligo onset in some patients; therefore, they should be used with caution or not at all if you have this problem.
Sun protection: Patients with Vitiligo should always wear sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and protective clothing to prevent sun exposure. Sunscreen application is critical in regions such as the Middle East, where sunlight can be very intense.
Oral hypoglycaemic agents: These are medications that help lower blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes mellitus. If you have diabetes, your doctor may advise you to avoid these medications since they could cause or aggravate this condition. Current research suggests that oral hypoglycaemics do not play a role in causing skin loss associated with Vitiligo, even though it has been shown that diabetes mellitus can damage melanocytes resulting in the worsened appearance of affected areas of skin.
Homeopathic Treatment for Vitiligo:
Vitiligo is one of the many diseases that homeopathy can treat. You can undoubtedly choose homeopathy as a treatment for Vitiligo. You can visit Dr Batras homeopahty clinic and avail the benefits of vitiligo treatment:
Effective: Homeopathy offers a practical and permanent cure for Vitiligo without any side effects.
Natural: It is a natural drug-less treatment that works to bring back the lost pigmentation of your skin.
Safe: Homeopathic medicines are free of any adverse effects on your body. Therefore it is safe to use them as they have no side effects at all.
Readily Available: Homeopathy can be available in the form of pills, mother tinctures, and ointments that you can take orally or apply topically on your skin, depending upon the type of homeopathic medicine used to treat Vitiligo. You can quickly get these medicines over the counter without a prescription from any reputed homeopathic pharmacy.
Long-Lasting Relief: Homeopathy offers long-lasting relief from vitiligo symptoms and protects from its reoccurrence.
Perpetual Cure: This is the most important benefit of choosing homeopathy as a treatment for Vitiligo because it provides a permanent cure without any side effects, making it a better alternative to other medicines such as steroids, TPN, and PUVA when looking at their adverse impact on your body. Homeopathy doctors at Dr Batras homeopathy clinic provide the best homeopathic treatment.
Depending on the severity of your condition, a series of these treatments may be employed to produce desired results. Suppose you are interested in receiving professional advice and recommendations. In that case, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with a skin doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible for assistance and guidance in executing this treatment method or one of those previously mentioned, which will help treat Vitiligo effectively while minimizing any risk factors or complications associated with its implementation. Book an appointment today through OHO Homeopathy!