Vitiligo is a disease caused by the absence of melanin, or the substance that gives color to the skin. This results in milky-white spots or patches. The disease affects 0.5-2% of the world population. Vitiligo is largely harmless apart from the fact that affected areas are particularly sensitive to sunlight.
Most patients experience psychological damage more than they do physical discomfort. Some celebrities who have been diagnosed with vitiligo skin disorder openly talk about it and even post photos on social media. This proves that vitiligo patients should not be seen as any different from everyone else.
Anyone can get vitiligo. Although it often shows up between age 3 and 20, age, sex, ethnicity and race are not considered risk factors. Signs usually first show up on body areas exposed to sun like hands, arms and face. Currently, there is no known cure for vitiligo. Many treatment options are however available. Most of them seek to even out skin tone or restore lost pigment. Among available treatments are vitiligo natural treatment methods and remedies.
What is vitiligo and what causes it?
The reason as to why some people are dark skinned while others are fair skinned is because of a substance called melanin. The more of it that is present, the more pigmented the skin appears. At times, the cells that make this substance die off or lose their ability to produce it. This leaves the skin without pigment; hence, white skin.
Vitiligo is thought to be largely an autoimmune disease. These are diseases that occur when overactive immune system attacks healthy cells, melanocytes in this case. It is common for patients to have vitiligo and diabetes type 1 or thyroid disease at the same time. For this reason, vitiligo is thought to run in families. About 30% of all vitiligo cases are genetic related. A person can also develop vitiligo due to sunburns, cuts and stress.
Signs often appear on body areas such as legs, knees, elbows, arms, navel, neck and face. Non-segmental vitiligo starts with few spots which gradually spread, join and form larger patches. Segmental vitiligo appears on localized areas and may not spread. See vitiligo pictures for illustrations. Rarely, signs can show up in mucosal membranes such as near the anus and nostrils. Vitiligo on the scalp presents as early graying or whitening of hair. Apparently, vitiligo dog and cat cases are also possible.
Ginkgo biloba vitiligo treatment
Ginkgo biloba is perhaps the most popular herbal remedy used for vitiligo treatment. Reports from some clinical trials suggest that the herb may restore lost pigment and prevent progressing depigmentation. Further research is required to prove or disprove these claims.
The widely accepted gingko biloba vitiligo treatment dosage is 40mg taken thrice a day. 60mg taken twice a day may also be equally effective. It can be taken with or without food. Heavy and fatty meals however decrease amount of active ingredients absorbed into the system.
Benefits and how it works:
The herb contains powerful antioxidants. It also enhances the immune system. Other potential benefits include reduction of skin toxicity, promoting vasodilation and improving skin health. All these may in one way or another improve vitiligo symptoms. Ginkgo biloba works best for vitiligo triggered by oxidative stress or resulting from genetic factors.
It is safe to take ginkgo biloba, whether in pellets, tinctures, tea or other forms. Patients are however advised to check with their doctors first. This is because the herb can interact with some medications, conditions and herbs. A common potential side effect is blood thinning. The herb should not be taken prior to surgery.
Essential oils for vitiligo home treatment
Essential oils for vitiligo are not very popular options but may prove of some help. They include:
Bergamot oil contains compounds that increase the efficiency with which melanocytes sense sunlight. Naturally, more melanocytes are produced when more sun is reaching the skin. More melanocytes mean more melanin, which in turn translates into more pigment. The best way to use bergamot oil is adding it to a moisturizer before direct application.
Black pepper oil
Black pepper contains a substance called piperine. It has been suggested that piperine may reactivate melanocytes that have stopped producing melanin. The oil is to be applied directly. Crushed black pepper can be alternatively used.
Lavender oil is popularly known for its ability to induce a relaxing effect. This can be very helpful when dealing with vitiligo caused by stress. Lavender oil is mild and can be applied directly.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is not likely going to restore pigment or even skin tone. It however can help in reducing inflammation which sometimes appears in vitiligo-affected areas.
Like tea tree oil, coconut oil for vitiligo is not meant to restore skin color. It works as a skin soother. It helps prevent sunburns and itchiness.
Natural home treatments for vitiligo
Segmental, focal and universal vitiligo can be quite hard to cure and stop from spreading. In fact, you can’t possibly tell if more white skin will appear or not. Non-segmental vitiligo is the most common type. It is often characterized by white patches that appear symmetrically on body areas that mirror each other. Natural treatments may help keep the disease in control. They include:
Stress doesn’t cause vitiligo but can trigger it. Mental stress is the more serious type although physical trauma can also trigger vitiligo. Stress management can be done through meditation, exercises, talk therapies and yoga. Your doctor may be able to help.
The skin is the largest organ in the body. It is for this reason prone to all sorts of harsh environmental conditions and substances. One way to take care of your skin is drink enough water and always keep the skin hydrated. Ayurveda treatment for skin recommends keeping your drinking water in a copper container for at least 24 hours.
Sunscreen will not restore lost pigment but will prevent complications of vitiligo such as sunburns. You can get help from a professional in regards to how to choose the best sunscreen for vitiligo affected skin. More sunscreen is required for vitiligo on arms compared to on face.
Ever wondered how some celebs with vitiligo manage to hide it so well? The secret lies in finding the best vitiligo makeup to conceal affected areas. Again, a professional may be of help in this case.
Home remedies for vitiligo treatment
Below are several home remedies for vitiligo that may help. It should be noted that home remedies lack enough scientific data to explain how they work and if they work at all. Extra caution should be taken when using such treatments for vitiligo baby symptoms.
In convectional vitiligo treatment, PUVA therapy is one of the available options. It involves use of a substance known as psoralen and UVA light. Psoralen has been shown to be effective in restoring skin color, much like the effects of sun tanning.
It is almost impossible to miss aloe vera in any list of home remedies to cure skin conditions. The herb contains minerals and vitamins which may stimulate production of melanin and other skin functions.
Turmeric is another powerful home remedy that may help with treating vitiligo. For best results, turmeric powder is mixed with mustard oil to make a paste. The paste is then applied directly, left for about 15 minutes before being rinsed off.
It is the abundant copper in red clay that makes it a potential vitiligo treatment remedy. For better results, the clay can be mixed with ginger juice before direct application.
Soaking radish seeds in vinegar may result in a paste rich enough to treat vitiligo. To make a good paste, soak radish seeds in vinegar so that a paste will be produced overnight. Apply the paste directly and rinse off after one and half hours.
Vitiligo diet and supplements
The types of foods we eat play a very important role in our overall health. This also applies in the case of vitiligo. There are some diet inclusions that may improve or worsen vitiligo.
Recommended vitiligo diet:
Zinc is a mineral that helps in healing of muscles and bones as well as in absorption of other nutrients. It also takes part in keeping the immune system healthy. Since vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, diets rich in zinc may help control vitiligo cycles.
Copper is thought to stimulate production of melanin, thus reducing the severity of vitiligo. Foods are rich sources of copper although the mineral can also be sourced from red clay.
Lack of vitamin C causes scurvy. This shows how important this vitamin is to skin health. It has also been found that many vitiligo patients lack enough vitamin C in their systems. When aiming to treat vitiligo, use vegetables or supplements rather than citrus fruits as your vitamin C sources.
A combination of vitamin B-12, sun exposure and folic acid has been shown to reduce vitiligo progression in a majority of test subjects.
Here is a list of foods recommended for vitiligo:
- French beans
- Wild caught fish
- Red pepper
- Raw diary
- Grass-fed beef
- Dark chocolate
Foods to avoid:
- Citrus fruits
- Red meat
- Junk food
- Spicy foods
- Carbonated drinks
It may not be easy to strictly keep in the boundaries of the recommended or discouraged foods. In fact, other health problems may result in the process. The best approach is to check with your doctor or a professional.
It is not always certain that vitiligo home treatments will work. In fact, the chances are that white skin caused by vitiligo will not disappear without medical intervention. Below are the various available conventional treatments for vitiligo:
- Medications – medications for vitiligo mostly come in the form of creams containing corticosteroids. These are meant to restore skin color. When treatment is done at early stages of vitiligo, repigmentation often occurs.
- Therapies – light therapies are perhaps the most common forms of vitiligo treatment. Depending on severity of the disease, different types of light therapies will be used. These include lasers and UVB lamp for vitiligo.
- Micropigmentation – micropigmentation involves implanting pigment on vitiligo affected areas. It is quite a laborious process and may not be ideal for wide spread vitiligo.
- Depigmentation – during depigmentation, pigment is reduced in remaining normal skin areas to match with white skin due to vitiligo.
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Vitiligo is a disease caused by loss of melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives color to the skin. In its absence, the skin becomes