Home Remedies for Vitiligo

Vitiligo are chalk-white spots, streaks, and patches of skin and hair where normal pigmentation has been lost due to destruction of the melanocytes, or pigment cells. Once the melanocytes are destroyed, no more melanin, or pigment, is made in these sites. Please refer to the list of home remedies vitiligo below.

The white patches usually appear symmetrically on both sides of the body. Vitiligo affects approximately 1 percent of the population. The condition is more common in dark-skinned people and, while noticeable in people with light- colored skin, it can be extremely distressing to people with darker complexions. It most often develops between the ages of ten and thirty. Common sites of pigment loss include exposed areas of the skin, such as the central face, fingers, hands, wrists, body folds, sites of injury, and the hair. The mucous membranes and areas around moles are other commonly affected sites.

Vitiligo is thought to be an autoimmune problem in which the body attacks its own pigment cells and kills them. There is often a precipitating factor such as stress or illness in a predisposed person. Thirty percent of people with this disorder have a family history of vitiligo, so there is obviously a genetic component. In addition, there is often a family or personal history of other connective-tissue or endocrine disease also related to an immune problem. These include alopecia areata, thyroid disease, diabetes, Addison's disease (a disorder of the adrenal glands), and pernicious anemia.

Vitiligo is a chronic disease, and its course is variable. Most commonly, it comes on rapidly, followed by a period of stability or slow progression of the problem. In about 30 percent of cases, the affected skin may begin to repigment naturally in sun-exposed areas as melanocytes migrate in from surrounding normal skin or from deep in the hair follicles. Skin that recovers in this way or with treatment usually shows small dots of repigmentation around involved hair follicles.

List of Home Remedies for Vitiligo

  • A small study at the Department of Dermatology of the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center found that supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin C resulted in noticeable repigmentation of the subjects' skin. I therefore suggest taking a vitamin-B complex containing 100 milligrams of each of the major B vitamins and at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily; 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily, and 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C twice daily.

  • Homeopathic remedies that may be recommended for vitiligo include Alum, Natrum carbonicum, Phosphorus, Sepia, Silica, and Sulfur. The exact remedy is best chosen by a qualified homeopath.

  • Opaque cosmetic cover-ups such as Dermablend and Covermark can be exactly matched to your normal skin tone. Such products are commonly used for small areas of pigment loss, especially on the face and hands. However, they do rub off and have to be reapplied during the day.

  • Apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher on a daily basis to all depigmented spots to protect the affected skin from sunburn and photoaging. A sunblock containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is preferable. Do this even if you do not anticipate being outdoors, as your skin is exposed to sunlight through windows in your home and car. Areas of vitiligo no longer have any protective pigment, burn easily, and are more susceptible to developing skin cancer. A product called Total Block combines an SPF of 60 with antioxidants and cover-up protective liquid makeup to cover and protect areas of vitiligo in a cosmetically pleasing way.

  • Avoid skin trauma as much as possible, as cuts and abrasions frequently are followed by vitiligo in the affected areas.

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