Vitiligo – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Thursday, July 26, 2018 by

Vitiligo refers to a lack of melanin that makes the skin lose color. At least one percent of the world’s population is diagnosed with this condition.

In a patient with vitiligo, melanocytes, or the cells that are responsible for the skin color, are destroyed.

The melanocytes are unable to produce melanin/skin pigment. Since the cells can’t produce melanin, areas of the skin will lose color or turn white.

An individual with vitiligo may lose pigment anywhere on their body, such as:

  • Inside the mouth or other mucous membranes
  • Genitals
  • Nostrils
  • Sun-exposed areas (e.g., the arms, face, feet, and hands)
  • Within the ear

Even hair can turn grey or white in affected skin areas.

While vitiligo may affect various body parts, it’s not contagious.

Known symptoms of vitiligo

The primary side effect of vitiligo is white patches on the skin. The patches may be large or small and they can appear in one of the following patterns:

  • Segmental or focal – The white patches are smaller and they develop in one or only a handful of areas. When vitiligo develops in a focal or segmental pattern, it often shows up in one area on one side of the body. In most cases, this pattern continues for at least a year then stops. This pattern progresses slower than non-segmental vitiligo.
  • Non-segmental or generalized – This pattern involves widespread white patches that form symmetrically on both sides of the patient’s body. Non-segmental vitiligo is the most common pattern and it may affect pigment cells anywhere on the body. It can start and stop several times throughout a patient’s life.

Risk factors for vitiligo may include:

  • Genetics – At least 20 percent of patients have a family history of the skin condition.
  • Work environment – Working in an industrial setting that involves constant exposure to phenolic chemicals can increase an individual’s risk of developing vitiligo.

Body systems harmed by vitiligo

Vitiligo may cause the following complications

  • Eye problems – Vitiligo may cause eye problems like hypoacusis (partial hearing loss) and iritis (inflammation of the iris).
  • Increased vulnerability to sun exposure – Since the skin of patients with vitiligo lack melanin, they need to apply a strong sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem – Since the condition often affects exposed areas of skin, most patients may have low self-confidence and self-esteem.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent vitiligo

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent vitiligo or address its signs:

  1. Ginger juice – Mix raw ginger and some water, then strain the mixture. Drink the juice twice a day to heal vitiligo.
  2. Margosa leaves and honey juice – Combine two teaspoons of margosa leaf extract with a teaspoon of honey and mix well. While the juice is bitter, it can provide relief for patients with the skin condition.
  3. Pomegranate powder – Grind a handful of dry pomegranate leaves to make pomegranate powder. Consume about eight grams of the powder every morning and evening.

Treatments, management plans for vitiligo

Although the white patches of skin caused by vitiligo are often permanent, some treatment options can help improve the appearance of a patient’s skin.

Skin camouflage cream can be used to hide small patches of a patient’s whitened skin. However, combination treatments (e.g., phototherapy [treatment with light] and medication), are the most effective treatment options for vitiligo.

Take note that while treatment can help restore color to your skin, the effect isn’t always permanent. Treatment can’t prevent vitiligo from spreading.

Where to learn more

Summary

Vitiligo refers to a lack of melanin that makes the skin lose color.

The primary side effect of vitiligo is white patches on the skin.

Vitiligo may cause complications like eye and hearing problems, increased vulnerability to sun exposure, and loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.

Although the white patches of skin caused by vitiligo are often permanent, some treatment options like skin camouflage cream and combination treatments like phototherapy with medication can help improve the appearance of a patient’s skin.

While treatment can help restore color to your skin, the effect isn’t always permanent. Treatment can’t prevent vitiligo from spreading.

Sources include:

Healthline.com

EMedicineHealth.com

NHS.uk

StyleCraze.com



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