Most of you are unfamiliar with vitiligo, the skin disease that is characterized by skin portions that have lost their pigmentation due to the death of the skin’s cells or their dysfunction. Simply put, when melanin-producing cells stop their normal function or die, vitiligo happens. This article will focus on vitiligo natural treatment methods of alleviating this condition’s symptoms.
Vitiligo is a progressive skin depigmentation that leaves clearly-defined white patches, sometimes symmetrical in shape, on the body and may appear early on in a person’s life. Vitiligo is also hereditary.
Vitiligo is mostly a cosmetic issue and poses no serious threat to life yet because these patches are extremely visible, more than one vitiligo natural treatment has been sought by those who suffer from it.
One out of 200 individuals in Europe and the U.S. has this condition. For one third of those afflicted with it, vitiligo is temporary and resolves by itself spontaneously. For the rest, however, vitiligo is more permanent and is usually an indication of a generalized disorder of a person’s autoimmune system. Vitiligo can, in fact, be a precursor to diabetes, Addison’s disease, thyroid disorders, pernicious anemia, and alopecia areata.
What Causes Vitiligo?
Everybody is clueless as to why vitiligo happens. Experts agree that it is the result of melanocyte destruction in the skin’s epidermis. The most recent research, conducted by the National Vitiligo Foundation located in Tyler, Texas, has theorized that the melanocytes of vitiligo patients have molecular alternations which make them more susceptible to cell death.
The factors for this susceptibility include challenges posed by ultraviolet (UV) B radiation from prolonged exposure to the sun or exposure to either catechol, which is used in tanning and dyeing, or phenol in disinfectants. Additionally, studies done in Chicago by the Loyola University Medical Center showed the presence of immune cells in the skin when they have already been losing pigmentation.
These immune cells appear to be directly in contact with those cells which normally produce pigmentation, suggesting that the immune response may be involved, in some ways, in a process which results in pigmentation cell destruction. Although the researchers haven’t confirmed to what these immune cells responded to, the consensus is that it was to proteins exclusively found in melanocytes.
How to Get Rid of Vitiligo
For those white spots on skin, treatment is usually the application of topical corticosteroids like triamcinolone acetonide. These may be effective initially but have adverse side effects such as development of osteoporosis, thinned skin, immune system disorders, and growth problems. Severe cases may be prescribed psoralen and UB A radiation to attract pigmented cells to the skin’s surface.
Although no known pharmaceutical medications can prevent melanocyte loss, some of them can actually improve skin appearance. Topical calcipotriene, a derivative of vitamin D, is used with UV light or corticosteroids in the treatment of skin discoloration but may result in dry skin, itching, and rashes as its side effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) linked this drug to skin cancer and lymphoma.
You can get rid of vitiligo through light therapy. This involves using a narrow band of UV B light, but not psoralen, on the limbs, trunk, and face of the patient. Three sessions per week are recommended for light therapy to be successful. A laser treatment, meanwhile, involves bringing back color to the white patches with the use of excimer laser equipment that beams specific wavelengths of UV B light.
Like the other treatments mentioned, laser therapy has skin blistering and redness for side effects. Yet another treatment is depigmentation or removing any remaining color for vitiligo which has become widespread and/or has not responded to any treatment. Skin dryness, swelling, redness, and itching go with depigmentation. Incidentally, it is also permanent and will always make you extremely sensitive to sunlight.
There is surgery to eliminate vitiligo, of course, by evening out the skin tone through color restoration of the skin. There are different types of surgical procedures for vitiligo such as skin grafting, blister grafting, and micropigmentation or tattooing. In skin grafting, small sections of the normal and pigmented skin are removed and attached to the areas which have lost pigmentation.
The side effects of skin grafting may include developing a spotty color after the procedure, scarring, infection and having the so-called “cobblestone appearance.” Blistering grafting involves creating “blisters” on pigmented skin by suction; the blisters’ tops are then removed and transplanted to one area of the discolored skin. Failure of the transplanted area to recolor, scarring, and cobblestone appearance are side effects.
Micropigmentation or tattooing involves using a special instrument to implant pigmentation into the skin. While this has been shown to be most effective on those with dark skin, especially for the areas around the mouth or lips, the downsides include difficulty in matching skin color, fading, inability for tanning, and triggering yet another vitiligo patch.
Natural Treatments for Vitiligo
If the potential side effects of the treatments mentioned scared the dickens out of you, remember that this article’s focus is on natural cures for vitiligo. But first you have to be told why the other treatments, while undoubtedly effective, may do you more harm than good, especially if you already have other existing medical conditions. Forewarned is forearmed, as the old adage goes.
There is a plethora of arguments for choosing natural remedies for vitiligo over those that use pharmaceutical grade medications and invasive procedures, not the least of which are health reasons and the expensive cost. Since there is practically no way that anybody can know whether or not vitiligo will spread to the body’s other areas or simply remain localized, an early treatment is recommended to arrest its progression.
Before thinking of any other forms of treatment, consider making changes in your dietary habits and lifestyle, taking supplemental nutrition, and herbal extracts. Many of those with vitiligo have been successful in treating it with home remedies for vitiligo. Natural or home remedies which have immunomodulatory and/or antioxidant properties are used to address vitiligo’s autoimmune and oxidative stress causes.
Making Your Own Natural Treatment for Vitiligo
Cosmetic concealers are not remedies to get rid of vitiligo; they do not treat the disorder and only hide the white patches and just smooth out contrast between these and the pigmented skin which surround them. Concealers have limited use because they are only effective for few, small, and localized spots. The difficult part is to find the right color which perfectly matches your skin’s normal color.
Reducing the white patches is the better option, whether or not you find the right color of concealer for your specific needs. Why is this? Concealers are exactly what their names say: they only conceal what you should be getting rid of. When there are fewer white patches on your skin, there will be less need to conceal them, right? One of the best vitiligo home remedies is a mixture of mustard oil and turmeric.
Turmeric Powder and Mustard Oil, Sweet Basil Leaves, and Walnuts
If that sounds like something that you put on a hotdog sandwich, think again and try it. Mix five teaspoons turmeric powder and 250ml organic mustard thoroughly in a bowl and apply the resulting mixture on affected areas. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash it off, and pat the areas dry. Do this procedure twice a day between 15 and 20 days and see visible reduction of the white patches.
Sweet basil leaves have been found effective as a vitiligo herbal treatment. Extract the juice from five or six lemons, add one or two teaspoons of oil extract from sweet basil leaves, mix them well, apply the mixture generously on the areas affected by vitiligo, and leave it on these for around 15 minutes. Wash it off with water and then pat dry. Do this daily for five to six months and see your skin’s pigmentation comeback.
How about walnuts? Simply grind enough walnuts in a food processor or blender to make two teaspoons of walnut powder and mix this with a small amount of water to result in a thick, coarse paste. Apply the mixture to all affected areas and leave it there between 15 and 20 minutes, after which you simply rinse it off. Do this daily for two months and see a significant reduction in your white patches.
The seeds of the herb known as psoralen can be used to treat vitiligo because of their rich vitamin C content which gives them the ability to discard weak cells that produce little or no melanin. This elimination process results in the reduced amount of vitiligo’s white patches. And because of its abundant vitamin C, there is probably no other herb which is used as much for treating vitiligo and reducing its white patches than psoralen.
Soak psoralen seeds for four days; you can steep them in some ginger juice – which has anti-inflammatory properties – for about three days. Don’t forget to change the liquid daily. Remove seeds from liquid, dry them, grind in a food processor or blender until you get the consistency of paste. Applying this to affected areas daily for approximately a month can gradually make the white patches decrease and disappear.
Different studies have found that home remedies for vitiligo patients may not be enough if they have lower levels of certain vitamins and minerals when compared to people without vitiligo. Different studies have already shown that those who suffer from vitiligo are typically deficient in some of the members of the vitamin B-complex family, namely: B6 or pyridoxine, B9 or folic acid, and B12 or various cobalamins.
Low levels of vitamin B-complex have been associated with extremely high levels of homocysteine, a compound that can produce a wide array of health hazards for the body by producing free radicals during metabolism. Supplementation with B-complex vitamins can help reduce oxidative stress on your skin and prevent or halt vitiligo. Additionally, taking a supplement like Callumae could benefit you.
It helps the body metabolize energy, provide optimal functionality for the nervous system, and bring about pigmentation. Potent botanicals make up its synergistic proprietary blend. It promotes efficiency in immune system function and maintains skin health. Callumae, as a vitiligo natural treatment, addresses oxidative stress issues by including powerful antioxidants lipoic acid and gingko biloba in its formulation.