Vitiligo or leucoderma, is a skin pigmentation disorder. In vitiligo, skin loses its natural color in patches of irregular shapes and sizes. 

Melanin is the main pigment responsible for giving your hair and skin color. Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells involved in melanin production. 

The lack or absence of melanin causes the white patches in vitiligo. Due to the autoimmune response, melanocytes get destroyed or malfunction. This interferes with the melanocyte’s ability to produce melanin. 

This results in the appearance of white patches over your skin. The hair growing over the affected skin loses its color and turns gray. This condition affects your hair, scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes and results in premature graying.

Vitiligo is not a life-threatening disease, but it can cause tremendous stress in the affected individuals. It leads to psychological distress related to external appearance.

Many people get into depression as vitiligo patches appear over visible areas of the body, like the face, hands, arms, feet, or genitals. 

Vitiligo is not a contagious disease and managing vitiligo involves treatments to restore skin pigmentation or methods to camouflage affected areas. Homeopathy can offer the best treatment for vitiligo.

 

Role of homeopathy in vitiligo

Homeopathic medicines help manage vitiligo by enhancing the natural production of melanin pigment. It is believed that vitiligo is not just a physical disorder in itself but an expression of an altered mental state. To achieve an ideal cure, a detailed analysis of mental and physical aspects is needed. It also includes family history and the psychological environment that the patient has lived in his life. 

Vitiligo is a chronic condition and can take time, even with the best of the homeopathic medication, to get cured completely.

Top five homeopathic medicines for vitiligo

Sulphur (Sulph.)

Common name: Sublimated Sulphur

Sulphur has an excellent scope to treat vitiligo where symptoms include pricking, biting, and sticking sensations on the skin. Aversion to bathing is a characteristic symptom of Sulphur. 

Sulphur treats vitiligo that occurs after suppressed skin eruptions by external applications. There is a marked burning sensation in various body parts.

Arsenic album (Ars.)

Common name: Arsenious acid 

Ars. alb. works well in people prone to dry, rough skin. This remedy works wonders in vitiligo, where the skin shows whitish spots with dry, dirty, and rough skin.

Ars. alb. is indicated for skin complaints alternating with respiratory complaints like asthma. Vitiligo patches are present on most body parts except the face and hands. Warmth is a relieving factor for skin eruptions in Ars. alb. 

Calcarea Carbonica (Calc.)

Common name: Carbonate of lime

Calc. carb. is a top-grade remedy for vitiligo with milky white spots which appear anywhere on the body.

Nitricum acidum (Nit-ac.)

Common name: Nitric acid

Nitric. acid. is indicated for vitiligo affecting mucus junctions. White spots appearing on the mouth, nipples, nose, eyes, penis, and vulva call for Nitric. acid. 

Silicea terra (Sil.)

Common name: Silica, Pure Flint

Silicea is indicated for vitiligo on pale and waxy skin with excess sweat on hands and feet. 

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Causes of vitiligo

The exact cause for vitiligo hyperpigmentation patches is still not clearly understood. However, a combination of factors like genetic, autoimmune, and environmental may be the probable causes. These include:

Autoimmune response

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys melanocytes that produce the skin pigment, melanin.

Genetic factors

Some specific genes associated with vitiligo have been identified that increase the risk of developing this condition.

Neurochemical factors

Changes in neurochemicals and neurotransmitters in the skin can cause vitiligo.

Environmental triggers

Exposure to certain chemicals and skin trauma can trigger or worsen vitiligo. The possibilities increase in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

Hormonal changes

Vitiligo tends to appear during hormonal changes, like puberty or pregnancy.

Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases like thyroid disorders and diabetes can increase the risk of developing vitiligo.

 

Symptoms of vitiligo

The symptoms of vitiligo can differ from person to person. It is a condition that can affect people of all skin types. The primary symptom of vitiligo is the presence of depigmented patches. Other common symptoms associated with vitiligo include:

Depigmented patches

White or pale patches of skin appearing on various body parts are the main symptom of vitiligo. These patches have well-defined borders.

Symmetrical distribution

Vitiligo patches appear symmetrically on both sides of the body.

Hair whitening

The hair on the vitiligo-affected skin also changes its color. The loss of pigment can lead to premature graying of hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows.

Loss of color in mucus membranes

Vitiligo can affect the mucus membranes. This leads to depigmentation over the mouth, lips, and genitals.

Variable progression

Vitiligo can progress slowly or rapidly. Also, the size and number of patches can differ over time.

Sensitivity to sun

Areas of depigmented skin develop sun sensitivity.

 

Treatment for vitiligo

The vitiligo treatment aims to repigment the white patches of skin. Some treatments aim to reduce the contrast between the depigmented and normal skin. However, the efficacy of the treatment varies from person to person. Some common treatment options for vitiligo include:

Topical corticosteroid

Anti-inflammatory creams or ointments containing topical corticosteroids help repigment the skin. They work well for the vitiligo on the face and neck.

Topical calcineurin inhibitors

Medications like tacrolimus and pimecrolimus help repigment the skin. These are used over sensitive skin areas like the face and genitals.

Narrowband UVB phototherapy

This involves exposing the vitiligo-affected skin to UVB light of a specific wavelength. UVB phototherapy stimulates pigmentation and is used for larger areas of vitiligo.

Excimer laser

Targeted UVB laser is effective for small areas of vitiligo patches.

Microskin and tattooing

These methods involve applying color to the depigmented skin. This makes the skin blend with the surrounding skin.

Oral psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy

PUVA treatment combines psoralen, a medication that sensitizes the skin to UV light, with UVA exposure. It’s effective for widespread vitiligo patches.

Surgery

Surgical options like skin grafting, blister grafting, or micro pigmentation are considered in widespread vitiligo.

 

Diet and lifestyle management for vitiligo

While diet and lifestyle changes cannot cure vitiligo, they can be supportive in managing the condition. Here are some tips on diet and lifestyle adaptations beneficial for vitiligo:

Sun protection

Protecting depigmented skin from the sun is essential. Use sunscreen, put on protective clothing, and avoid prolonged sun exposure.

Stress management

High stress levels can potentially trigger or exacerbate vitiligo. Stress reduction measures such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can be beneficial.

Cosmetic camouflage

Using cosmetics to cover depigmented areas can be helpful. It can help people feel more comfortable and confident in their appearance.

Avoiding skin trauma

Protect your skin from injuries, cuts, and burns to prevent new vitiligo patches.

Avoiding harsh skin products

Use gentle and nonallergenic skin care products to prevent irritation and worsening of vitiligo.

 

Conclusion

Vitiligo is a complex skin condition affecting millions of people around the world. While there is no known cure, various treatment options can help manage vitiligo.

Homeopathy with its holistic approach can improve your quality of life. Choose homeopathy, to embrace your unique beauty and resilience.

 

References

  • Henning SW, Jaishankar D, Barse LW, Dellacecca ER, Lancki N, Webb K, et al. The relationship between stress and vitiligo: Evaluating perceived stress and electronic medical record data. PLoS One [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2023 Nov 5];15(1):e0227909. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227909