Vitiligo is a skin disorder that affects about 1% of the people in the United States and up to 100 million people worldwide. Its tell-tale symptom is the appearance of white patches of skin on various parts of the body.
Who Can Develop Vitiligo?
Anyone can develop this condition, and it affects all races and both genders equally. However, you are more at risk of developing this condition if a parent has it, if autoimmune diseases run in your family, and if you experience graying of hair before the age of 35.
What is the Cause of Vitiligo?
The white patches of skin occur because the pigment-producing cells (called melanocytes) are either destroyed or stop producing pigment. However, what actually causes this to happen is still not known for sure. One of the leading hypotheses is that the body mistakenly starts attacking these cells, in an autoimmune reaction. It is also believed that sunburn and emotional stress can trigger vitiligo.
What are the Symptoms of Vitiligo?
As mentioned already, the main symptom of vitiligo is loss of pigment from parts of the skin, which manifests itself as patches of white skin. Often, these patches will grow larger with time, although the speed at which they do so is highly variable. The most commonly affected areas are the hands, arms, face, lips, legs, navel, armpits and groin. In addition, people with vitiligo often experience premature graying of their hair and loss of pigment in the eyes. The diagnosis of vitiligo involves certain tests and skin biopsy
How is Vitiligo Treated?
There are many treatment options for vitiligo, although all of them have limited effectiveness and associated with some side effects. Typically, the first treatment option recommended is steroid or immunomodulator therapy, in the form of creams or drugs. A more effective option is photochemotherapy, but this is time consuming . There are also a number of surgical interventions that may be opted for, such as skin grafting. However, many patients who undergo this procedure report inflamed itchy skin and a cobblestone appearance of the transplanted skin.
Can You Cure Vitiligo Naturally?
Yes! There are a number of published papers by doctors and biomedical researchers that document a complete cure from vitiligo in just a few weeks using : herbal extracts , vitamin supplementation , lifestyle and dietary changes or a combination of the three.