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Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes the skin to lose its pigment. It is a patchy loss of colour, usually on areas of skin that get exposed to sunlight. The affected area may turn completely white or have only small scattered patches of colour. Vitiligo will not affect your overall health; you can live everyday life with it. Vitiligo affects around 1% of the global population, so there is no need to feel alone or isolated. Vitiligo should not be taken as a curse by those afflicted with it because it will worsen each time and affect their confidence levels.
Cause of Vitiligo:
The cause of Vitiligo isn’t precisely known, but scientists presume it might be due to an autoimmune disorder. This means that the body destroys its cells (in this case, melanocytes) by mistake. It is possible to inherit Vitiligo; about 40% of people suffering from this skin ailment inherited it from their parents. The other 60% got it by chance when a person’s immune system starts attacking the melanocytes in the skin.
There are a few factors that may trigger Vitiligo, such as:
Taking certain medications, long term exposure to toxic chemicals Stress Hormonal changes in your body Inheriting the disorder Getting hit by ultraviolet light Having family members with Vitiligo Being an African American or Hispanic person Abusing alcohol during pregnancy Having leprosy or some other disease of the nervous system
Many people also think it is contagious and try to keep their distance from those affected because they fear it might spread through touch, but it is not transferable. It can only be caught if you have undergone organ transplantation from a donor who has Vitiligo.The colour loss will come and go throughout life; some people won’t even notice it, while others will have to cope with noticeable symptoms for many years. Some people experience various forms of these signs:
- Too much sensitivity to sunlight.
- Severe itching is not relieved by over-the-counter medications.
- Skin lightening or darkening
Types of Vitiligo:
There are two types of Vitiligo: generalized and segmental.
Generalized Vitiligo: It affects the entire skin all over the body. It is more common in children, but adults get it too. Usually, the onset of generalized Vitiligo is seen when a person is 10-15 years old, but this can occur at any time in the lifecycle.
Segmental Vitiligo: Segmental Vitiligo affects only tiny parts of the body. It usually appears on specific areas such as the hands and feet. This type of Vitiligo mainly affects children, but some adults have also reported segmental Vitiligo.
Symptoms and Signs of Vitiligo:
The symptoms of Vitiligo depend on its type and severity. In most cases, the onset begins in youth in one area, such as a leg or arm armpit. The loss is not uniform; patches that usually remain are darker than typical skin while the others lighten eventually turn white.
Occasionally people experience some itching associated with their condition, but this can be relieved by medicated soaps.
Vitiligo usually affects only certain areas of the body at a time and then “moves” to a new area of your body over time. It means that after affecting one place, for example, an arm, you’re likely to notice colour changes on another part of your body further down the line, too (such as the leg or trunk).
Complications of Vitiligo:
The complications of Vitiligo depend on the extent to which your body is affected by this skin disorder. Severe and extensive cases can lead to some extreme conditions, for example, depression. In rare cases, people have even committed suicide because they were so ashamed of their condition. Other complications include:
- Infection: Since the skin is quite delicate after you have Vitiligo, it may become infected. This is why you should consult a doctor and get some antiviral or antibacterial ointments to protect yourself against bacterial infections.
- Skin cancer: When your body can’t produce melanin (the pigment that determines skin colour), it becomes more susceptible to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and other artificial light sources like tanning beds, lamps, and lasers. Ultraviolet rays cause severe damage to your skin cells and, over time, can lead to the development of cancerous cells.
- Much Needed Attention – Vitiligo makes people feel very insecure about their looks and appearance, especially in public places where they must socialize with people.
- Diarrhoea or Constipation – Vitiligo causes severe stress and anxiety due to social rejection, making it hard for people with the condition to maintain regular bowel movements.
- Depression – It is usual for people who have Vitiligo to feel depressed or experience low self-esteem due to their condition. Still, in most cases, this can be treated by taking some medication as suggested by your doctor.
- Anger: People suffering from Vitiligo often get fed up with being asked about it all the time by friends and strangers alike, especially when they don’t want to discuss their problem at that particular moment in time. They may also feel angry because they cannot do certain things like tanning, getting a suntan, or simply going outdoors without covering their bodies all the time.
- Loneliness: It is equally frustrating when you cannot do things with your family members due to your condition. People suffering from Vitiligo feel lonely and isolated because some people in society do not accept them, and these issues lead to depression.
- Loss of Hair – Some studies have shown that the hair also loses pigmentation other than skin colour. This means that instead of having black hair, which most people desire, you may end up losing all or most of your hair if this occurs.
Diagnosis of Vitiligo:
The medical diagnosis of Vitiligo can be carried out using the following methods:
- Skin Biopsy: A sample of your skin is taken and examined for signs of some abnormality. Your doctor will use a thin layer of a special fluid to cover an area affected by Vitiligo to examine it more closely under a microscope.
- Genetic tests: These helps determine if you’re likely to pass this condition on to your offspring or another family member, which could prove especially important if you’re planning a pregnancy. It is because the genetic test checks for particular genes that are associated with this disorder. If these are present, then your child has a higher chance of developing Vitiligo too.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can help show whether your body is producing enough melanin and whether there are any signs of nutritional deficiencies.
- Excimer Laser: This treatment is also called narrow-band ultraviolet light (NB-UVB) therapy, and it helps to stimulate the production of melanin which improves skin pigmentation. Your doctor will point a UV light at an area affected by Vitiligo to stimulate the growth of healthy, coloured skin.
Treatment for Vitiligo:
Treatment for Vitiligo is generally aimed at:
- Controlling the condition – A lifestyle change can help you to control this condition. For example, you may be able to prevent some cases of Vitiligo by eating a healthy diet that includes foods such as broccoli and carrots, which are high in vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine). It helps to reduce the amount of stress placed on your body by maintaining regular bowel movements. You should also get plenty of exercise like jogging or swimming regularly.
- Preventing spread of skin pigmentation: Many people suffering from Vitiligo take medicines that help prevent melanin production and inhibit their ability to grow dark pigment cells, and improve the existing colour of the skin.
- Treating psychological issues caused by Vitiligo: A dermatologist or a skin doctor can help you to explain your condition and why you must continue with your treatment at all times. He may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist if he feels that this would help to improve things for you in the future.
- Using surgical methods: While not the most common option, surgeons can treat Vitiligo by removing some pigmented cells from an area affected by this disorder. It helps them match their remaining skin tone more closely with neighbouring regions; however, they aren’t always successful. Re-pigmentation is risking developing further down the line, particularly among darker-skinned people.
Lifestyle and home remedies:
- Diet and Vitiligo: There are a few foods that you should avoid, including those high in caffeine, as this can lead to the body not producing enough of its melanin cells. Other chemicals like sulphites need to be avoided because they have been known to cause some people to develop Vitiligo. Other food substances that you should avoid include those rich in gelatine, flavourings, and dyes, which might also cause problems.
- Avoid direct exposure: If a lot of your skin is affected by Vitiligo, it helps if you avoid being exposed directly to sunlight at all times and especially when using sunbeds or tanning booths since these can make matters worse for you in the future. Make sure that you wear a hat and stay in the shade if you know that sun exposure will be particularly intense.
- Vitiligo patients should take care when using creams, lotions, or other skin preparations since they need to avoid chemicals known to cause reactions with their type of Vitiligo. It will help them ensure that they don’t worsen an area that has already begun to turn white by using something that exacerbates the problem.
- Stress: If stress is causing problems for you, it may be worth trying some herbal remedies like Ginkgo Biloba. It improves mood and reduces anxiety levels among people with this disorder; however, talk to your dermatologist before you try taking these supplements.
- Vitiligo patients should avoid using tea tree oil since studies have shown that it can sometimes trigger a skin reaction in people with this condition; however, there are plenty of other oils and herbs that may prove to be useful for them instead. Make sure that you talk to your dermatologist or doctor before using any herbal remedies on your Vitiligo. Some of them may not work for you or might even make things worse as they could contain chemicals that promote skin pigmentation or melanin formation. A sample list includes grapefruit seed extract, wormwood, fenugreek seeds, and oregano, to name but a few.
- The sunlight and Vitiligo: If you are looking for an excellent natural treatment option, it is worth noting that many of these treatments include exposure to sunlight on the affected areas. While this isn’t always recommended because it can make white patches turn grey or light brown than the surrounding skin, those who have tried other methods with no success might find that this works for them in the future.
Homeopathic treatment for Vitiligo:
- Homeopathic treatments can be a great way to relieve the symptoms of Vitiligo. Several homeopathic remedies can treat Vitiligo.
- Homeopathic medicine for Vitiligo is based on the principle that the remedy can heal if it can stimulate or cause the same symptoms in healthy people. The first step is to choose a treatment based upon the individual type of Vitiligo and the patient’s miasmatic state and then treat it according to homeopathic principles of potency, frequency, repetition, etc.
- The most common remedies used are: Alumina, Ars., Causticum, Copaiba, Mercuric iodide and Thuja. These remedies have been used with sound effects for many years. A case may need several treatments before relief is obtained as there is no one best therapy for all patients. Homeopathy has proved clinically successful in treating a wide variety of skin conditions, including Vitiligo. On occasion, even cosmetic improvement has been seen by homeopathic treatment.
- Homeopathy has also proved helpful as adjunctive therapy along with conventional treatment for the condition of Vitiligo.
- Homeopathy treats the symptoms and helps to address the person’s mental/emotional state and his relationship with his surroundings, which is essential in long-term recovery from any illness, including Vitiligo.
- Homeopathy thus views all physical symptoms as expressions of a more profound mental and emotional disturbance. Individualized homeopathic treatment addresses the individual’s unique case with his specific emotions, thoughts patterns, and personality traits to help correct the imbalance and establish harmony within the whole person leading to relief from his vitiligo disorder.
- Homeopathic treatment for Vitiligo has proved helpful in many conditions related to Vitiligo, such as psoriasis, alopecia areata, eczema, etc.
Hence, it can be concluded that homeopathy is an integral part of any vitiligo treatment. If there are doubts about the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for Vitiligo, you can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy today!