Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes loss of skin pigmentation in patches. It is also called leucoderma ('leuco' meaning white and 'derma' meaning skin) or white skin. It is non-harmful and non-contagious. It can affect any body part, including the face, hands, arms, and legs. The exact cause of vitiligo is not known. It is believed to be caused by an autoimmune disorder or genetic factors.
Symptoms include white patches on the skin and loss of colour in the affected area. Treatment options for vitiligo include topical steroids, light therapy, and surgical treatments. In some cases, natural remedies such as diet changes may also help manage symptoms. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for vitiligo can help to manage this condition more effectively.
More than the cosmetic aspects, the psychological aspects and stigma associated with this condition must be considered. It is natural for someone to be bothered by changes in the colour/pigmentation of the skin. But there is hope. New treatments are emerging which can alleviate the symptoms and anxiety related to this condition.
Types of vitiligo and their Symptoms
Here are the various classifications of vitiligo:
- Non-segmental: Here, depigmentation occurs, displaying progressive lesions of the skin, mucosa, and hair. The main reason is the loss of autoimmunity in melanocytes from the involved skin lesions.
- Generalized: This is the most common type of vitiligo involving depigmentation in patches of skin throughout the body. The typical areas affected are the face, neck, scalp, and around body orifices like the mouth and genitals.
- Mucosal: As the name suggests, it affects mucous membranes of the body's mouth and/or genitals.
- Acrofacial Vitiligo: This type of vitiligo affects the hands, feet, and face. Symptoms include discoloured patches of skin, loss of colour around the eyes, and a pale or white patch on the nose or lips.
- Segmental Vitiligo: This type of vitiligo affects only one side of the body, usually in the form of a single large patch. Symptoms include discoloured patches on one side of the body, usually a single large patch.
- Universal Vitiligo: In this form of vitiligo, there is complete or nearly complete skin depigmentation.
Vitiligo results from damage to the skin's melanocytes, the cells responsible for giving the skin its colour. It can happen to anyone, but it's most noticeable in people with darker skin because the contrast is more pronounced.
Areas of skin that lose pigment are called spots if they are smaller than 1 cm and larger than 1 cm. If someone has vitiligo on hairy parts of their body, their hair may turn white or silver.
Causes of vitiligo
- Environmental triggers: Vitiligo appears to result from pre-existing genetic makeup and certain environmental factors that trigger an autoimmune response that destroys melanocytes. Possible triggers include sunburn, exposure to certain chemicals, and trauma or injury to the skin. These triggers can also cause vitiligo to spread among people who already have it.
- Hereditary factors: Research suggests that about 30 per cent of vitiligo cases are hereditary. Several possible genetic mutations affect the function of melanocytes. One can develop vitiligo symptoms when a genetic mutation targets the cells that produce skin pigment.
Treatments of vitiligo
While there is no cure for vitiligo, some spots disappear without treatment. For those that don't, treatments can help even out the skin tone.
People can try some at home; others require medical treatment. One must remember that results may vary. What works for one person may not work for another. No treatment is likely 100% effective in getting rid of this condition.
Treatment options are available in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) stream. Especially Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) system have several oral and topical medicines to treat vitiligo.
Gingko biloba and aloe vera are commonly used in vitiligo treatment. Arsenicum Sulphuratum Flavum (ASL) is one of the best homoeopathic medicine available for vitiligo.
Homeopathy offers constitutional and personalized medicines suited to an individual patient. Unani, too, has a few good treatment options for vitiligo.
These are available in the form of a cream or ointment that can be applied to the skin. These can help restore the original skin colour. Adults can be prescribed topical steroids if they have non-segmental vitiligo on less than 10% of their bodies. However, serious side effects may develop after prolonged use of these steroids.
Psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) photochemotherapy
PUVA photochemotherapy consists of the combined administration of psoralens, a class of phototoxic plant-derived compounds, with exposure to ultraviolet A radiation (UVA). Along with vitiligo, PUVA treats several other skin conditions like psoriasis, mycosis fungoides, eczema, and graft-versus-host disease.
Phototherapy aids in vitiligo treatment by helping stimulate melanocytes, the cells producing melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its colour. It also helps in the migration and production of more melanin, affecting the prognosis of vitiligo.
Even though there are different strategies for vitiligo treatment, a new and revolutionary treatment, Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP), is helpful in promoting and regenerating normal cellular function. PRP acts by creating an environment suitable for the repigmentation of the skin.
PRP is an emerging and encouraging option for vitiligo treatment. PRP, along with other physical procedures, is especially helpful. PRP utilizes a patient’s blood, which is processed to separate the platelets and plasma. This concentrated solution is then injected into the patient’s tissues, providing a natural source of healing proteins that can help alleviate symptoms and restore function to damaged areas.
We at UnCover are always committed to bringing the latest and ground-breaking revolutionary techniques in restoring functionality to skin and hair symptoms. Our top dermatologists will discuss the correct treatment mode in detail. Treatments start from Rs. 3000. Book a free consultation with us today.
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Vitiligo causes loss of skin colour in patches. As time progresses, the discoloured areas usually tend to get bigger. No part of the human body or skin is immune to this condition. Hair and the inside of the mouth, too, can get affected by this condition.
Though people of all skin colours are affected by vitiligo, this is more noticeable in people with dark skin. Despite being a non-life-threatening or contagious disease, it can cause stress. While treatments for vitiligo help restore colour to the affected skin, they do not prevent the continued loss of skin colour or recurrence.
We at UnCover are the leaders in always bringing the latest technologies to alleviate symptoms and their relief in the safest way possible. We offer chemical peels, Q-switch laser, carbon facial, mesotherapy etc. We utilize United States-Food & Drug Administration (US-FDA)-approved technologies.
10,000+ patients cannot be wrong. Do not hesitate to call us today. Our able and experienced dermatologists will help determine the root cause of vitiligo and offer effective treatment options. Get in touch with us today. Get relief from symptoms and problems in a safe manner.