Vitiligo Causes & Symptoms and Home Treatment - ggstarhealth


Friday, March 1, 2019

Vitiligo Causes & Symptoms and Home Treatment

Vitiligo Causes & Symptoms and Home Treatment

Vitiligo occurs when the cells that give your skin its color are destroyed. Vitiligo is a  condition where pale white patches develop on the skin and is caused by the lack of melanin, a pigment in the skin. Vitiligo is caused by the lack of a pigment called melanin in the skin. Melanin is produced by skin cells called melanocytes, and it gives your skin its colour. It occurs when pigment-producing cells named melanocytes die or stop producing Melanin - the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes color. Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its characteristic color. The involved patches of skin become lighter or white. .It is a disorder in which your immune system attacks and destroys the melanocytes in the skin. It may be a Family history (heredity).Although vitiligo affects all races equally, it is more noticeable in dark-skinned people. Vitiligo can cause cosmetic problems.

In vitiligo, there aren't enough working melanocytes to produce enough melanin in your skin. This causes white patches to develop on your skin or hair.

Although it can start at any age, vitiligo often first appears between the ages of 20 and 30. The white patches may begin on your face above your eyes or on your neck, armpits, elbows, genitalia, hands or knees. They're often symmetrical and can spread over your entire body.

Vitiligo isn't caused by an infection and you can't catch it from someone else who has it.

Vitiligo Signs & Symptoms

The main sign of vitiligo is pigment loss that produces milky-white patches (depigmentation) on your skin. Other less common signs may include:

Premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard
Loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of your mouth (mucous membranes)
Loss or change in color of the inner layer of your eye (retina)

Although any part of your body may be affected by vitiligo, depigmentation usually first develops on sun-exposed areas of your skin, such as your hands, feet, arms, face and lips. Vitiligo generally appears in one of three patterns:

Focal. Depigmentation is limited to one or a few areas of your body.
Segmental. Loss of skin color occurs on only one side of your body.
Generalized. Pigment loss is widespread across many parts your body.

Although it can start at any age, vitiligo often first appears between the ages of 20 and 30. The white patches may begin on your face above your eyes or on your neck, armpits, elbows, genitalia, hands or knees. They're often symmetrical and can spread over your entire body. The disorder affects both sexes and all races equally.

Vitiligo doesn't cause discomfort to your skin, such as dryness, but the patches may occasionally be itchy.

The condition varies from person to person. Some people only get a few small, white patches, but others get bigger white patches that join up across large areas of their skin.

Most people with vitiligo are otherwise healthy and have normal skin texture and sensation. However, the condition may be more common in people with certain autoimmune diseases - diseases in which your immune system reacts against your body's own organs or tissues - such as Addison's disease, vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia (pernicious anemia), or thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

The natural course of vitiligo is difficult to predict. Sometimes the patches stop forming without treatment. In other cases, pigment loss can involve most of the surface of your skin. 

The pale areas of skin are more vulnerable to sunburn, so it's important to take extra care when in the sun and use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF).

What is Cause of Vitiligo

Your skin is composed of three layers - the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. The outermost layer of your skin is the epidermis. Melanin, the pigment that determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes, is produced in the epidermis. Melanin provides the coloring of your skin and helps protect it from damage from ultraviolet light.

People of all races are born with approximately the same number of pigment cells (melanocytes). The rate at which melanin granules are formed in these cells and their concentration in the epidermis are inherited characteristics and major factors in skin color differences. When no melanin is produced, the involved patch of skin becomes white. When a white patch grows or spreads, the cause may be vitiligo.

The exact cause of vitiligo isn't known. Doctors and scientists have theories about what causes the disorder. It may be due to an immune system disorder. Heredity may be a factor because there's an increased incidence of vitiligo in some families. Some people have reported a single event, such as sunburn or emotional distress, to trigger the condition. However, none of these theories has been proved to be a definite cause of vitiligo.

Medical Screening

Proper diagnosis is needed to distinguish whether or not you have vitiligo. See your doctor if areas of your skin, hair or eyes lose coloring. Although there's no cure for vitiligo, treatments exist that may help to stop or slow the process of depigmentation and attempt to return some color to your skin.

If your doctor suspects you have vitiligo, he or she will ask about your medical history. Important factors in your medical history include:

A family history of vitiligo

A rash, sunburn or other skin trauma at the site of vitiligo within two to three months of the start of depigmentation

Premature graying of the hair (before age 35)

Stress or physical illness

In addition, your doctor will need to know whether you or anyone in your family has had an autoimmune disease. He or she will ask if your skin is sensitive to the sun. Your doctor will examine you to rule out other medical problems or skin conditions, such as dermatitis or psoriasis. Your doctor may take a small sample (biopsy) of your affected skin. He or she may take a blood sample to check your blood cell count and thyroid function. In some cases, your doctor may recommend an eye examination to check for inflammation in your eye (uveitis). A blood test to look for the presence of antinuclear antibodies (a type of autoantibody) also may be done to determine if you have an autoimmune disease.

To use papaya to treat vitiligo, rub pieces of papaya on the patches of skin affected by vitiligo. Wash it when dry. Drink papaya juice regularly to replenish the body of melanin cells lost due to vitiligo. Red clay is an affective treatment of vitiligo

World Vitiligo Day is celebrated on the 25th of June. This day is celebrated to make the world aware about the symptoms, causes and treatment of the disease. Vitiligo destroys the melanin pigment cells. The melanin is responsible for providing the skin with its color. Due to the absence of melanin in certain places the skin develops white patches. The patches are more visible with people with dark skin. Vitiligo starts with smaller patches and eventually develops into large patches all over the body. There are no highlighted causes of the disease. Scientists suggest that vitiligo might be a hereditary disease. People with a family history of vitiligo have a high chance to develop the condition. People with a family history of endocrine diseases and connective tissue diseases are also at a risk of developing vitiligo. Another caused of vitiligo may be stress. Even though vitiligo isn't caused by stress, it can act as a triggering factor. Most of the areas where the patches of vitiligo appear are the areas exposed to the sun. Since we do not know what the exact cause of vitiligo is, we can take some preventive measures against the disease.

Here are some home remedies that can help you with vitiligo:

1. Papaya

Papaya is a delicious fruit and beneficial for health. Along with that, papaya has also been shown to be effective against vitiligo. To use papaya to treat vitiligo, rub pieces of papaya on the patches of skin affected by vitiligo. Wash it when dry. Drink papaya juice regularly to replenish the body of melanin cells lost due to vitiligo.

Drink papaya juice regularly to replenish the body of melanin cells lost due to vitiligo

2. Red clay

Red clay is an affective treatment of vitiligo. Red clay is rich in copper content. Add a tablespoon of ginger juice to two tablespoons of red clay. Apply the mixture to the white patches every day. The ginger juice helps in adding blood flow to the patches.

3. Reduction of stress

Too much stress can be harmful for the body with any condition. Stress may not cause vitiligo, but excess stress can lead to the growth of patches caused by vitiligo. Apart from vitiligo, stress may harm the mind and body and hamper the day to day functioning of a person. Take less stress in order to prevent vitiligo from worsening.

Stress may not cause vitiligo, but excess stress can lead to the growth of patches caused by vitiligo

4. Sunscreen

Since vitiligo is observed in areas of skin that is regularly exposed to the sun, it can be said that vitiligo is affected by harmful UV rays of the sun. Therefore, as a preventive measure, apply sunscreen to the parts of the body exposed to the sun. Wear long dresses to cover all exposed parts of your body to prevent any harm caused by UV rays that inhibit growth of vitiligo.

Vitiligo is observed in areas of skin that is regularly exposed to the sun.

5. Drink water from a copper vessel

Staying hydrated always can help your body stay fit and away from diseases. A way to red rid of vitiligo is to drink water from a copper vessel. Drinking water stored in a copper vessel will help you increase melanin in your body and reduce whiteness of patches caused by vitiligo.

6. Basil leaves

Basil leaves are known to have anti-aging and anti-viral properties. These properties of basil are important for dealing with vitiligo. Mixing basil leaves with lime juice will stimulate the production of melanin on your skin. Apply the mixture of basil juice and lime juice to your skin everyday for better results against vitiligo.

Basil leaves are known to have anti-aging and anti-viral properties

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are those dry fruits that have innumerable health benefits. One of those benefits of walnuts are that they treat the body against vitiligo. Eating at least 5 walnuts everyday can help you deal with vitiligo. For even better results, crush walnut powder and add water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected areas of the skin at least 3-4 times every day for 15-20 minutes. This can help in reduction of the white patches caused by vitiligo.

Eating at least 5 walnuts everyday can help you against the battle with vitiligo

8. Foods high in zinc

While suffering with vitiligo it is extremely important to have a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet can help in boosting your immune system. Along with that make sure to include zinc in your regular diet. Amounts of zinc in the body is low with patients with vitiligo. Zinc supplementation in the body can stimulate the healing process of the skin against vitiligo. Meat-based food items contain high amounts of zinc.

9. Foods high in Vitamin C

Along with zinc, Vitamin C too is important for the treatment of vitiligo. Vitamin C deficiency is common with many patients suffering with vitiligo. Citrus fruits like orange, lemons and grapefruits contain Vitamin C. Vitamin C is also found in strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers and broccoli.

Vitamin C deficiency is common with many patients suffering with vitiligo

10. Turmeric

Turmeric is an effective home remedy for vitiligo. Turmeric along with mustard oil and stimulate the pigmentation of the skin. Apply a mixture of turmeric powder and mustard oil for 20 minutes to the affected area. Do this twice a day for positive results.

Turmeric is an effective home remedy for vitiligo

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an acquired skin disorder characterized clinically by totally white macules, or "spots," and microscopically by the total absence of pigment producing cells in the skin called melanocytes.

Who Gets Vitiligo?

Vitiligo appears to affect at least 1% to 2% of the population, irrespective of sex, race, or age. Series have been reported from across the globe. The more dark skinned a person is, the more their vitiligo stands out, because of the contrast between affected and unaffected areas of skin. This may account for the apparent higher prevalence of vitiligo in some countries with darker-skinned populations. Vitiligo has become a marked social stigma in countries such as India, where opportunities for social advancement or marriage among affected individuals are severely limited even today.

In half of all vitiligo cases, onset occurs between the ages of 10 and 30. There are a few reported cases of vitiligo present at birth. Onset in old age also rarely occurs. Over 30% of affected individuals may report a positive family history. Up to four loci are now considered responsible for vitiligo. Vitiligo in identical twins has been reported. The risk for children of affected individuals is unknown, but may be less than 10%. People from families with an increased prevalence of thyroid disease, diabetes mellitus, and vitiligo appear to be at increased risk for development of vitiligo.

Both predisposing (genetic) and precipitating (environmental) factors contribute to vitiligo. Many patients attribute the onset of their vitiligo to physical trauma, illness, or emotional stress. Onset following the death of a relative or after severe physical injury is often mentioned. Even sunburn reaction may precipitate vitiligo.

White Vitiligo Spots

The typical vitiligo macule is chalk white in color, has convex margins (as if the white areas were flowing into normally pigmented skin), is 5mm to 5cm or more in diameter, and is round, oval, or elongated in shape. Linear or artifactual macules represent the isomorphic or "Koebner" phenomenon, following repeated trauma or pressure on the elbows, knees, and bony prominences. The disease progresses by gradual enlargement of individual macules and the development of new white spots on various parts of the body.

Where Does Vitiligo Appear On The Body?

Vitiligo can be categorized as one of three types, based on the pattern of depigmentation.

The most common type is generalized vitiligo, in which there is widespread distribution of white macules, often in a remarkably symmetrical array.

The focal type is characterized by one or more macules on a single site; in some cases, this may be an early evolutionary stage of one of the other forms of the disease. Typical macules occur in the fingers, elbows, knees, lower back, and genital area. Extensive generalized vitiligo may leave only a few normally pigmented macules, a form of the disease referred to as "vitiligo universalis".
The segmental type, which is uncommon, is characterized by one of several macules on one hand or one side of the body. This type is not usually associated with vitiligo macules in other parts of the body, and new vitiligo spots do not appear.

Not All White Spots Are Vitiligo

The diagnosis of vitiligo can usually be made on clinical examination of a patient with progressive, acquired, chalk-white macules in typical sites. Few conditions are as patterned and symmetrical as vitiligo. Sometimes the spots match on both extremities in a mirror-image.

Woods light examination is required to detect all the spots, especially in fair skinned persons, include:

Lupus erythematosus (atypical distribution, positive immunofluorescence, serologic studies)

Pityriasis alba (slight scaling, fuzzy margins, off-white color)

Piebaldism (congenital, white forelock, stable, hyperpigmented macules in the center of white spots, different distribution than vitiligo)

Tinea versicolor (fine scales with greenish yellow fluorescence under Wood's light, positive KOH)

Chemical leukoderma (history of exposure to certain phenolic germicides, confetti macules)

Post-inflammatory hypomelanosis (off-white macules, history of psoriasis or eczema in the same area)

Diagnosis can usually be established on clinical grounds alone. In certain difficult cases, a skin biopsy may be required to exclude some of the above. A defining feature is that pigment cells in the skin are absent in vitiligo. Vitiligo is sometimes associated with general diseases.

Vitiligo may be associated with thyroid disease (up to 30%, especially women), diabetes mellitus (probably less than 5%), pernicious anemia (increased risk), Addison's Disease (increased risk), and multiple endocrinopathy syndrome. Associated cutaneous conditions include white hair and prematurely grey hair, alopecia areata, and halo nevi. There is no increased risk for malignancy. Skin cancers (all types) appear to be unusual.

Ophthalmologic (eye) examination may reveal evidence of healed chorioretinitis or iritis (probably less than 10%). Vision is unaffected. There are no important hearing changes. Laboratory studies for detection of general diseases associated with vitiligo include:

Thyroid profile: especially TSH (radioimmunoassay)
Fasting blood sugar (to rule out diabetes)
Complete blood count with indices (to rule out pernicious anemia
Why Does Vitiligo Develop?

Vitiligo results from a number of factors, Autoimmune, neurotrophic (interaction of melanocytes and the nervous system), and toxic (substances formed as a part of normal melanin production actually being toxic to melanocytes) hypotheses have been advanced. The mechanism involves progressive destruction of selected melanocytes, probably by cytotoxic T-cell lymphocytes

How Much Vitiligo Will  Develop?

Vitiligo is a chronic disease process. Its course is highly variable and unpredictable, but rapid onset followed by a period of stability or low progression is most characteristic. Up to 30% of vitiligo patients report some spontaneous repigmentation, particularly in sun-exposed areas, but this is almost never enough to be satisfactory to the patient
Treatment of vitiligo-associated disease (for example, thyroid disease) does not produce a return of pigment in areas discolored by vitiligo.

Information obtained from:
Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, M.D. , David B. Mosher, M.D. , Madhu Pathak, Ph. D

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