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The question is vitiligo is inherited or not can be quickly answered with YES. It is inherited. However, the simple answer may not completely describe the nature of the inheritance of vitiligo. Some people want to know how exactly vitiligo is inherited and how strong the risk of getting Vitiligo from parents is if both parents have vitiligo. The section below will give a detailed explanation as to how exactly Vitiligo runs in families and what its implications are on children who have either one or both parents affected by vitiligo.
The pattern of Inheritance of Vitiligo:
Inheritance of vitiligo from parent to child can either follow an autosomal dominant pattern or an autosomal recessive pattern.
Vitiligo in Autosomal dominant inheritance:
When the inheritance pattern for vitiligo is through autosomal dominant, if one parent has vitiligo, then there is a 50% chance that their child would inherit the condition. It means, if both parents have Vitiligo, it would be possible that their child also has Vitiligo, but this is not always the case. In most cases, children who inherit autosomal dominant Vitiligo do not show signs of Vitiligo until they reach puberty.
Vitiligo in Autosomal recessive inheritance
If both parents are affected by vitiligo, their child does not have any other family history of Vitiligo. It would mean that the other parent is carrier of the condition and would have an increased risk of having another child with vitiligo again.
What does this mean?
The possible implications for children who have one or both parents affected by vitiligo are:
- The risk of their child also inheriting the condition is still 50%. There may be multiple members involved by vitiligo in some families, so consider yourself lucky if you happen to be part of such a family. It just means that you belong to a unique group where many people from your family have inherited Vitiligo.
- If neither parent has Vitiligo, but they both carry the mutation associated with autosomal dominant vitiligo, then their children are at risk of getting Vitiligo.
- As a child, you may not have vitiligo, but if one or both of your parents has the condition, you still run an increased risk of developing it when you reach puberty.
- If neither parent has vitiligo and they have no family history of Vitiligo, there is still a chance that the other parent could be a carrier for the condition and would have an increased risk of having another child with Vitiligo.
Example cases illustrating autosomal recessive inheritance in families with multiple affected members:
Case 1: A mother and her 16-year-old son who just started to develop white patches affecting his face are visiting a vitiligo specialist. The mother has had patches of white spots on her hands since she was ten years old, and the son developed white spots on his face at age 14. No other family members have Vitiligo.
This case illustrates how autosomal recessive inheritance works in families where multiple affected members are present: If both parents are carriers of the condition (or if one parent is a carrier), then there would be a chance that they could pass it to their children with each pregnancy they have.
In this case, both parents are most likely carriers for the condition but unaware of it because neither of them nor any other family member has Vitiligo, as far as they know.
Some signs that might point out that they could be carriers include:
- Spots of white in the eye area – white spots on eyelidsor spots in the corner of your son’s eyes.
- If other family members have more signs of Vitiligo such as patches on hands and feet, then it might be a clue to the fact that they could be carriers for the condition.
- This becomes even more obvious if there is a history of miscarriage before some family member(s) with Vitiligo gave birth to another child without Vitiligo. It would indicate that these parents carry the mutation causing autosomal recessive vitiligo but only show symptoms when they passed it onto their children with each pregnancy.
What are the other causes of Vitiligo?
Vitiligo can also develop as a result of the following:
- Autoimmune diseases (lupus, dermatomyositis, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Exposure to certain chemicals or drugs such as anti-malarial medications, quinine, and organophosphates.
- Hormonal changes (during puberty or pregnancy).
- Stressful life events – stressful periods of your life such as depression, accidents, or other psychological trauma is associated with triggering vitiligo patches on the body.
- Strong sunlight exposure, including frequent use of sunbeds/tanning booths without using protection from UV rays. Can lead to Vitiligo in susceptible individuals.
- Vaccination against certain diseases. The Vaccination may not be to blame but could have triggered the autoimmune process in cases where Vitiligo already existed as a dormant condition.
- In rare cases, a tumour or another benign growth can cause the immune system to produce antibodies that attack skin cells and lead to vitiligo patches as a result.
- Some medications (beta-blockers – used to treat heart conditions such as hypertension) can also contribute to the onset of vitiligo in some individuals.
What are other signs that might indicate I’m at risk of developing Vitiligo?
Early signs of Vitiligo include:
- Sunburns easily without “blistering.”
- Sensitivity to sun exposure – skin becomes red and hot
- Itchy skin – a sign that your immune system is reacting to the vitiligo patches
- Dry skin on legs, arms, hands, and feet. This often occurs due to not drinking enough water (less than 6-8 glasses per day). Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day!
- nails or chapped lips that won’t heal – dry skin as a result of Vitiligo can cause symptoms such as dry patches affecting the nails, which may split and crack easily.
What tests are available for me to determine whether I’m likely to develop Vitiligo?
- Blood tests: This can be carried out to look for antibodies that might cause vitiligo. These are usually the same autoantibodies used to diagnose autoimmune diseases such as SLE, DM, and rheumatoid disease.
- Skin biopsy: To determine whether you have vitiligo or not, a small skin sample is taken from one of your white patches and examined under the microscope. If no immune cells surround the pigment cells, they will probably be unaffected by Vitiligo, and consider yourself lucky! On the other hand, if these hairs are surrounded by lymphocytes (immune cells), you likely have vitiligo, which would require treatment according to an expert diagnosis from a dermatologist or other medical professional who has a great deal of experience in treating Vitiligo.
- Genetic testing: can be carried out to look for the gene mutations that might cause/contribute to vitiligo; you may wish to consider this as an option if your signs and symptoms are very pronounced and appear on several areas of your body at once.
Of course, you should consult with your regular doctor or physician, who will be able to provide advice and guidance for you based on the medical history you provide. Unfortunately, despite all the medical research being conducted, there’s still not much scientific proof out there yet about Vitiligo other than its autoimmune pathogenesis (cause). Therefore, it is difficult to make any conclusive statements based only on scientific evidence alone. Still, one thing is sure: you should do all you can to protect yourself from the UV rays, and if after several years of being Vitiligo-free, a white patch appears unexpectedly, then seek medical advice ASAP!
What treatment options are available for me to reduce symptoms?
- Sunscreen is essential in protecting your skin from UV rays that cause dryness, pain, and skin cancer. Use a UVA+B sunscreen with SPF 15 when outside.
- Protect your hair by wearing a hat or applying sunscreen to the scalp area (if bald).
- Drink plenty of water, especially during the summer months when your body dehydrates quickly. Put ice in your water to increase water consumption so that you will stay hydrated!
- Shower at night – use a cleanser to prevent dryness on your skin, and deep cleanse once per week as well with an exfoliating scrub.
- Keep nails short, smooth/rounded edges, and moisturize every night before bedtime; this will minimize the splitting or peeling of nails caused by Vitiligo over time.
- Apply a cream containing Hydroquinone 2% twice per day – this is the most effective treatment for reducing pigment (lightening) in vitiligo patches. Still, you need to remember it doesn’t work instantly, so you have to be patient! Hydroquinone can also cause side effects such as burning and stinging sensations, redness, and increased Sensitivity, so these should be noted.
- Use a moisturizing cream on your skin after showering and apply sunscreen before going out to prevent dryness from occurring in the future.
- Eat Vitamin B-rich foods; these helps reduce melanin production, which is the pigment that causes vitiligo spots to appear darker than normal skin tone. So, try eating more bananas, avocados, broccoli, and sweet potatoes – they will all provide you with daily Vit B12 intake!
- Apply apple cider vinegar directly onto white patches to lighten them up faster but remember it can sting if applied too frequently, especially when initially starting treatment, so dilute ACV 50/50 with water first (use cotton bud) before applying instead! You can also use ACV to condition your scalp if you are experiencing alopecia (hair loss).
- Avoid using soaps, detergents, and heavily scented cosmetics on skin affected by vitiligo, as they can exacerbate the appearance of white patches or even cause new ones to appear if you’re unlucky! Instead, bath with oatmeal which is known for its natural moisturizing and soothing properties. You should also avoid showering under hot water because it causes dryness and irritation, which will make vitiligo worse. Try lukewarm water instead!
- If all else fails, consider taking regular treatments at a tanning salon to build up a base color in areas affected by Vitiligo – this way, you can wear short sleeves and shorts without feeling self-conscious about pale skin!
- Maintain a positive outlook on life and avoid dwelling on your condition because it will only cause you more stress, which makes vitiligo worse. Keep yourself busy, go out with friends or family whenever possible and focus on the lighter side of things such as finding funny videos to watch – believe me when I say this works wonders for reducing stress levels simply by causing you to laugh! Vitiligo may be incurable at present, but that doesn’t mean your quality of life has to suffer because of it; with the right strategy, a little patience, and plenty of sunscreens (SPF 50), you should soon see an improvement in areas affected by vitiligo after several months
What should I do if I think I’m developing or have Vitiligo?
If you’ve recently noticed white patches appearing on your skin and they begin to grow in size or number, visit a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment advice. Although most types of vitiligo are incurable at the moment, it is still very treatable! You can also take this online test provided by NHS here if you’d like to see whether or not you may have vitiligo: Vitiligo self-assessment test. If the result is positive, make an appointment with your local GP for further testing/treatment guidance.
What is the vitiligo treatment?
- The first type of treatment involves repigmentation, which stimulates your body’s cells to produce melanin pigment in areas affected by vitiligo. It works well for treating early-stage Vitiligo patches. Still, it can take a long time to start seeing results, i.e., several months. The downside is that side effects such as burning and stinging are common, so be prepared!
- The second type of treatment is called mono benzyl ether of hydroquinone or B-mono (4% cream), and it’s used to lighten up white patches on the skin caused by vitiligo. It is generally performed alongside the repigmentation treatments because they help minimize the appearance of leftover pigmented spots after you stop applying B-mono.
- The third treatment type involves laser therapy that uses a high-intensity light beam to penetrate skin tissue. The heat generated destroys pigment cells responsible for inducing vitiligo patches. Still, it can be expensive and painful if performed incorrectly!
- And lastly, there’s Melaginina Plus cream (Cream Dermatologico) which is also used as a vitiligo treatment; this has been known to help treat affected areas by stimulating cell regeneration in your body. It starts producing melanin again in white patches – results vary, however, because everyone responds differently to different treatments.
Homeopathic Treatment for Vitiligo:
One of the most successful treatments for Vitiligo is a homeopathic treatment wherein herbal remedies are used to cure it naturally.
- Homeopathy is a branch of medicine that uses natural ingredients to treat and cure diseases instead of conventional chemical medication.
- Homeopathic Treatment for Vitiligo is one of the most effective and safe forms of treatment for this skin disorder. Homeopathy can help patients achieve a state of perfect health by curing them of their root cause.
- Homeopathic treatment for Vitiligo is 100% safe and can be used with all other conventional therapies. It helps in rejuvenating the cells of your body so that they start producing melanin once again. Homeopathy treats every person as an individual and works well with their body’s natural healing system to treat different problems without causing any side effects, making it an excellent choice for patients suffering from Vitiligo skin disorder.
- With the advancement in technology, many homeopathy doctors are available online that provide the best homeopathic remedies for treating Vitiligo naturally. However, it would be best to choose a reputed and reliable homeopathy service provider to get the best results.
Homeopathic treatment for Vitiligo generally lasts for 1-2 months. In some cases, it might require more extended periods as well, depending on your body’s condition and the extent of the disease. Several experts recommend a combination of different natural remedies (homeopathic remedies) that help cure this skin disorder from its root cause at home without causing any side effects. You can book an appointment with a registered homeopathic doctor through OHO Homeopathy.