Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body. The most common areas are hands, arms, feet, lips, around the mouth, nostrils, genitals, armpits and groin.
This happens because of the pigment of skin cells, melanocytes are destroyed in certain places. Scientists suggest the melanocytesself-destruct but its still unclear. Possibly, one or more genes may make the person more susceptible to the disease. Some people also think that emotional stress and sunburn can also be the reason for vitiligo.But it’s not yet scientifically proven.
Many people in their twenties develop the disorder. Chances of people developing vitiligo prior to turning forty are also high. Even though the disorder affects people of all sexes and all races, it’s more noticeable in people of colour.e. Dark skinned people.
People with hyperthyroidism are also likely to get vitiligo. Although vitiligo doesn’t have any severe health consequence of the physical health, it sure can cause negative emotional and psychological consequences.Michael Jackson’s highly publicized battle with Vitiligo has made profound awareness of the disorder possible worldwide.
Some medical methods are said to reduce the severity of the disorder but it’s to treat it permanently. There are no proven ways to prevent or cure vitiligo but there are ways to improve the appearance of those patchy and light areas.
1. Skin Grafting
Skin grafting is a surgical technique. The doctor’s transplant skin from unaffected areas to the patchy areas but the pigment doesn’t always return to the vitiligo affected areas. Alternatively, people with very little affected areas can also choose to do a spot treatment o mini grafting but it requires a PUVA photochemotherapy after it to unify the colour between the grafts. It’s costly and also put people with the the limited skin at the risk of “Pebbling”.
Makeup and camouflage makeup are very prominent these days as they are more economical than surgeries and phototherapies. With, waterproof bases and long-lasting cover-up bases nowadays, It’s safe to cover up with makeup and it tends to stay well throughout the days.But it’s extremely time-consuming.
3. Topical Creams
Topical creams can induce temporary re-pigmentation in the patients. Doctors can prescribe various creams but they are highly phototoxic and the usage should be supervised to avoid sunburn.
4. Ultraviolet Phototherapy
Ultraviolet light therapy is the means of restoring pigment to white areas. The therapy consists of the application of psoralens to the skin and then exposing the patient to the UVA light. This treatment should be given two or three times each a week. But it should be kept in mind that light therapy doesn’t ensure the paths from reappearing and can’t stop the new patches from appearing.
5. Herbal Home Remedies
Making a paste of Radish seeds, or basil leaves and lime juice, red clay, turmeric, pomegranate leaves for topical application, and drinking neem juice and more can help treat and relieve the patchiness of the skin.
Re-pigmentation and temporary relief are not a long-term cure but sun protection and emotional support are important for people living with Vitiligo. It’s essential that people around the patients don’t indulge in shaming and help the patient in such testing phase of life. Joining a support group and counselling is also recommended for people suffering from the disorder. Consult your physician for further information.