Home Remedies For Vitiligo
Vitiligo is a skin condition in which the cells that produce the pigment, melanin, are destroyed. Melanin is responsible for giving the skin its color. When these cells, known as melanocytes, are destroyed, white spots appear on the skin in various areas of the body. Patches may also be noticed on the mucus membranes of the nose, mouth, and retina. The hair present in the affected areas may also turn white. Vitiligo is chalk-white spots, streaks, and patches of skin and hair where normal pigmentation has been lost due to the destruction of the melanocytes, or pigment cells. Once the melanocytes are destroyed, no more melanin, or pigment, is made in these sites.
The white patches usually appear symmetrically on both sides of the body. Vitiligo affects approximately 1 percent of the population. The condition is more common in dark-skinned people and, while noticeable in people with light-colored skin, it can be extremely distressing to people with darker complexions. It most often develops between the ages of ten and thirty. Common sites of pigment loss include exposed areas of the skin, such as the central face, fingers, hands, wrists, body folds, sites of injury, and hair. The mucous membranes and areas around moles are other commonly affected sites.
Vitiligo is thought to be an autoimmune problem in which the body attacks its own pigment cells and kills them. There is often a precipitating factor such as stress or illness in a predisposed person. Thirty percent of people with this disorder have a family history of vitiligo, so there is obviously a genetic component. In addition, there is often a family or personal history of other connective tissue or endocrine diseases also related to an immune problem. These include alopecia areata, thyroid disease, diabetes, Addison’s disease (a disorder of the adrenal glands), and pernicious anemia.
Vitiligo is a chronic disease, and its course is variable. Most commonly, it comes on rapidly, followed by a period of stability or slow progression of the problem. In about 30 percent of cases, the affected skin may begin to repigment naturally in sun-exposed areas as melanocytes migrate in from surrounding normal skin or from deep in the hair follicles. Skin that recovers in this way or with treatment usually shows small dots of repigmentation around involved hair follicles. Patches of de-pigmentation are the most prominent symptom of vitiligo. These patches may be seen more commonly in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun such as the face, lips, arms, hands, and feet. In some cases, white areas may also be noticed around the armpits, groin, and rectum. Vitiligo tends to develop in any of the three patterns. In the focal pattern, the depigmentation occurs in only one or few areas and does not spread. In the segmental pattern, the patches occur on one side of the body. In the generalized pattern, de-pigmentation is seen to occur in a symmetrical fashion on both sides of the body. The generalized pattern is the most common pattern of vitiligo. Individuals affected with vitiligo may also experience premature graying of the hair on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard. There may be discoloration inside the mouth, especially in people with darker skin. It is not possible to determine if a generalized pattern of vitiligo will spread to other parts of the body. In some cases, the white patches remain limited to just a few areas, while in other cases the disorder progresses and spreads over the years. Some people may experience a quicker spread of the disease. Further de-pigmentation may occur after periods of stress. Vitiligo is not an infectious disease and does not spread from one individual to another.
Diet for Vitiligo
The diet significantly influences the body’s resistance to various illnesses and infections. It is possible that skin disorders such as vitiligo occur more easily when nutrition is poor. There is no specific diet to be followed for improvement in vitiligo. But a nutritious and wholesome diet in general is a must for overall good health. Medical treatment for vitiligo tends to continue for long periods of time and during this time it is essential to keep the body healthy to aid in healing. Individuals affected with vitiligo should aim to consume healthy and balanced meals. Beneficial foods such as olive oil, black pepper, and green tea should be incorporated into the daily diet.
Home Remedies For Vitiligo
- A small study at the Department of Dermatology of the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center found that supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin C resulted in noticeable repigmentation of the subjects’ skin. I, therefore, suggest taking a vitamin-B complex containing 100 milligrams of each of the major B vitamins and at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily; 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily, and 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C twice daily.
- The main emphasis of vitiligo treatment is to improve the appearance of the skin. Treatment for the condition usually continues for long periods of time. The type of treatment depends upon the size and number of white patches, location, and extent. The response to treatment varies from case to case. Most vitiligo treatments involve the topical application of medication. In topical steroid therapy, steroid creams are used to repigment the white patches. This kind of therapy is especially effective when done in the initial stages. You need to apply the cream to the affected areas for a minimum period of three months. Topical steroid therapy is known to be a safe and easy treatment. However, there may be some side effects of these creams such as shrinkage or streaks on the skin.
- According to some natural health enthusiasts, radish seeds can bring about the regeneration of melanin. Add a couple of teaspoons of vinegar to powdered radish seeds and mix into a paste. You can apply the paste to the affected area daily for at least 6 months. The plant Mama Cadela has been traditionally used for the treatment of vitiligo patches. The root of the plant may be boiled in water and the extract can be applied to affected areas of the skin. According to some in. The herb Ginkgo Biloba is a popular one used by herbalists for various health concerns. Some research indicates that this herb helps in limiting the progression of the disease and also assists in re-pigmenting the white patches. These effects may be possible due to the natural immunity-boosting properties possessed by the herb. It is known to be more effective when taken orally rather than applied topically.
- Homeopathic remedies that may be recommended for vitiligo include Alum, Natrum carbonicum, Phosphorus, Sepia, Silica, and Sulfur. The exact remedy is best chosen by a qualified homeopath.
- Opaque cosmetic cover-ups such as Dermablend and Covermark can be exactly matched to your normal skin tone. Such products are commonly used for small areas of pigment loss, especially on the face and hands. However, they do rub off and have to be reapplied during the day.
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher on a daily basis to all depigmented spots to protect the affected skin from sunburn and photoaging. A sunblock containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is preferable. Do this even if you do not anticipate being outdoors, as your skin is exposed to sunlight through windows in your home and car. Areas of vitiligo no longer have any protective pigment, burn easily, and are more susceptible to developing skin cancer. A product called Total Block combines an SPF of 60 with antioxidants and cover-up protective liquid makeup to cover and protect areas of vitiligo in a cosmetically pleasing way.
- Avoid skin trauma as much as possible, as cuts and abrasions frequently are followed by vitiligo in the affected areas.
Author: Dr Izharul Hasan