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Know How To Treat Vitiligo (Leukoderma)

Geetha Patil and Dr. Kirankumar Rathod

Know How To Treat Vitiligo (Leukoderma)
by Geetha Patil and Dr. Kirankumar Rathod

Vitiligo is also known as Leukoderma and the term refers to Leuco- White and Derma- Skin. It is a progressive, idiopathic pigmentation disorder of the skin characterized by the loss of pigment in certain areas of the skin, resulting in white patches or Vitiligo or Leukoderma. This condition occurs due to the destruction of melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, which gives the skin its color. According to Ayurveda, it is called as Shwitra or Shweta Kushta and says Vata and Prajakpita have set on the skin then there is an imbalance into the doshas of vata and pitta. In this autoimmune disorder the immune system of your body attacks the healthy cells and as a result, it starts affecting your body.

Vitiligo occurs in over 1% of the population throughout the world. This can be seen in any age group and in any person but in about 50% of the patients, it starts before the age of 20. It usually starts with a few small white macules or patches that may gradually spread over your body. Sometimes, larger patches continue to widen and spread, but most of time they usually stay in the same place. The location of smaller macules shifts and changes over time by losing and regaining their pigment. In addition, it may affect any part of your body like inner region of the mouth, nose, scalp, hair, hands, forearms, feet,  mucous membranes (the moist lining of your mouth, nose, genital and rectal areas), and eyes/retina, face, inner ear, and the genitals and can vary from person to person. While it is not harmful or contiguous, it can significantly influence a person's self-esteem and confidence. 

What are the causes of Leukoderma?

Leukoderma is caused by the lack of a pigment called melanin that gives your skin its color because the immune cells mistakenly attack the normal cells and tissues of the body resulting in their destruction. The actual cause of vitiligo is unknown but research suggests that there are various factors and causes associated with the disease.

·         Genetics - A genetic mutation or a change to your body’s DNA can affect how your melanocytes function. Over 30 genes can increase your risk of developing Leukoderma/Vitiligo. A person with a family history of vitiligo is vulnerable to the disease as well.

·         Autoimmune disorder - Various autoimmune disorders make your immune system overreact and develop antibodies to destroy your melanocytes and result in white patches.

·         Infection - This disease might arise due to chronic infections like throat infection, a stomach infection, etc. that require the intake of antibiotics which in turn affect immunity results in an autoimmune disorder.

·         Inflammatory Diseases – Various inflammatory diseases are known as the causing factors of leukoderma.

·         Stress - A long duration emotional or physical stress especially after an injury may cause the disease because the amount of pigment your melanocyte cells produce may change.

·         Viral causes - Some viruses can affect a person and cause the disease.

·         Neural causes - Neurological causes are also known to be associated with vitiligo or leukoderma.

·         Environmental triggers: Factors like ultraviolet radiation due to sunburn and toxic chemical exposure can affect how your melanocyte cells function.

What are the symptoms of Leukoderma?

·         Patches of skin or mucous membranes that lose color. These can appear white or lighter than your natural skin tone, which usually first appears on the hands, face, and areas around body openings and the genitals.

·         Patches of hair on your body turn silver, gray or white prematurely on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard.

·         Loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose (mucous membranes)

Symptoms can be mild and only affect a small area of your body or severe and affect a large area of your skin. Some people with vitiligo experience itchy skin before de-pigmentation starts.

What are the types of Leukoderma/Vitiligo?

It is difficult to predict how this disease progresses because sometimes the patches stop forming without treatment and in most cases, pigment loss spreads and eventually involves most of the skin. Occasionally, the skin gets its color back. Depending on the type of vitiligo you have, it may affect that part of the body’s skin.

·         Universal/Nearly all skin surfaces. This rare type of vitiligo affects nearly more than 80% of skin surfaces.

·         Generalized/Many parts of the body. With this most common type of vitiligo, the discolored patches/macules appear in various places on your body or often progress similarly on corresponding body parts (symmetrically).

·         Segmental/Only one side or part of the body. This type vitiligo tends to occur at a younger age, progress for a year or two, and then stop and only affects one side of your body such as your hands or face.

·         Focal/One or only a few areas of the body. In this rare type of vitiligo where the macules develop in a small area and do not spread in a certain pattern within one to two years.

·         Acrofacial/The face and hands. This type of vitiligo affects skin on the face and hands, and around body openings, such as the eyes, nose and ears.

·         Trichrome: This type causes a bullseye with a white or colorless center, then an area of lighter pigmentation, and an area of your natural skin tone.

·         Mucosal: Mucosal Leukoderma/ Vitiligo affects mucous membranes of your mouth and/or genitals. 

What are the best Ayurvedic medicine for leukoderma?

·         Meditation: If vitiligo happened due to stress then engaging in relaxation techniques and stress-reduction practices such as meditation for 2 months or more can aid in managing vitiligo.

·         Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula): Haritaki is highly recommended in the severe cases of Vitiligo. It removes the free radicals that cause damage to the melanocytes and acts as an antioxidant and improves your digestive system. Patients suffering from Vitiligo can also face depression and anxiety that can be preventing by Haritaki. It is available in powder and tablet forms. Take two tablets in a day empty stomach or 1Tsp in warm water, 2 times in a day empty stomach for 2 months.

·         Vitamin D3: Take 30000IU to 35000IU per day, after food for 2 months along with vitamin K2 300 micro gram.

·         Vitamin Zinc: Take 100mg every day with food or after food plus Copper 1500 micro gram.

·         Pitta Diet: Minimize spicy, salty and sour foods, such as alcohol, chilies and citrus fruits and eat more cooling foods such as leafy vegetables rich in the bitter taste.

If you get good results after two months then reduce the quantity of vitamin D3, K2, Zinc and Copper to half and continue Haritaki same doses and meditation for another two months.

What are the best Homeopathic remedies for leukoderma?

·         Calcarea carb is a top grade medicine for vitiligo patients with milky white spots on skin.

·         Arsenic Album is the best remedy for vitiligo in persons prone to dray, and rough skin.

·         Silicea carries a good scope to treat vitiligo on a pale and waxy skin and tend to excessive perspiration on hands and feet.

·         Sepia is also recommended to a vitiligo patient having an indifferent approach towards life and family.

·         Ars Sulph Flavum and Hydrocotyle Asiatica is an effective medicine for vitiligo.

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