Melanocytes are the cells that make skin pigment and give colour to the skin. When these cells are destroyed, that particular area remains devoid of any pigment, and white patches occur. The condition where the patches appear on the skin is known as Vitiligo. They can also grow or spread with time. The patches also affect the inside of the mouth and scalp, affecting the hair colour. The disease doesn't have any symptoms related to pain or itchiness. If the patches occur in visible areas of the body like the face, arms or legs, it might make the person self-conscious and less confident to go out in public.
People with dark skin tone are vulnerable to this disease being noticeable. Even people with fair skin tone can have noticeable patches since the area becomes devoid of any pigment. Since the disease has no other effects on health, seeking medical help is up to the patient. Most people suffering from this disease are known to have patches on various parts of the body. There is no specific age limit, but most commonly, it appears before the age of 30.
The types are broadly based on where the patches are visible on the body-
Under this type, the loss of pigment (discolouration) is seen in one spot only. It remains confined to that spot and doesn't spread.
Discoloured patches are seen all over the body. It is the most common type of vitiligo found in people.
If the vitiligo is confined to a particular part of your body, like the face or arms, it is known as segmental vitiligo.
In Trichrome vitiligo, one area of the body experiences heavy discolouration, followed by an area with a lighter discolouration and an area with a regular skin tone.
Generally, at least 80% of your skin will have to be discoloured to be classified as universal vitiligo. Universal is a rare type of vitiligo.
Some signs of vitiligo are-
- Loss of tissue colour present inside the mouth (lining of the mouth) and nose (mucous membrane)
- Patchy loss of skin colour. Hands, face, areas around body openings and genitals are usually the affected areas at the beginning.
- Premature greying/whitening of hair (scalp hair), eyelashes, eyebrows or beard.
Furthermore, the type of vitiligo can also have different impacts. It can limit the patches to certain areas or even affect a large area based on the type.
Did you know, in some occasional scenarios, the skin can get its colour back?
The progress of the disease is unpredictable. In some cases, without any medical help, the patches stop growing. But the disease is more commonly seen spreading and eventually covering all of the skin.
It is still a mystery as to what causes melanocytes to die or melanin production to fail. It is often associated with-
- Hereditary (Family history)
- Disorder of immune system (autoimmune disease)
- Stress, severe sunburn or skin trauma (can occur due to contact with chemical)
Suffering from vitiligo can also increase the risk of-
- Eye problems
- Hearing loss
- Social or psychological distress
Vitiligo is not gender-specific. Generally, the first occurrence is seen in people who are in their 20s. There is no change in the texture of the skin.
Loss of colour in skin, hair or mucous membrane can be the first sign indicating that you may need medical help. Since vitiligo has no permanent cure, the treatment will help slow the growth or stop it. It might as well help return some colour to the skin.
A dermatologist will suggest the following if he/she suspects vitiligo:
- With the view of reviewing your family history, ask some questions like whether anyone in your family has suffered from vitiligo
- Carefully examine the affected skin (Physical exam)
Vitiligo is often associated with thyroid disease, and the doctor might suggest a blood exam. It helps check the health of your thyroid gland. Treatment is available to control thyroid disease if you are diagnosed with it.
Homoeopathy treatment for vitiligo has proved to be effective in several clinical studies. Especially in patients, who seek it in the early stages of the disease, the best results were recorded. Homoeopathy also maintains a holistic approach to the treatment. So patients' concerns regarding low self-esteem are addressed.
- Addresses underlying concerns
Case history plays a vital role in the prescription of homoeopathic medicines to an individual. So if any underlying concerns are present at the time of treatment like stress, anxiety etc., they can also be treated effectively.
- Less recurrence rate
Amongst the patients who seek conventional treatment, it has been observed, the recurrence rate of white patches is relatively high. Since homoeopathy aims at the root cause of vitiligo, the recurrence rate is relatively low.
- Long-lasting results
Short-term effects are seen in conventional treatment, whereas homoeopathy offers a long-lasting alternative to the disease.
- Natural medicines
Homoeopathic medicines are chemical-free and natural and thus safe to consume.
- No scarring
Unlike the skin grafts that cause skin scarring, sweet pills of homoeopathy offer the treatment without scarring.
- No side-effects
Conventional medicines can cause severe burns and blistering. But homoeopathic medicines being natural, have zero side effects.
- Safe for children
Conventional medication is bitter or distasteful that is not preferred by the children. Homoeopathy pills, on the other hand, are sweet and small, and children take them happily. Being natural, they are also safe for children.
- Treats the root cause of vitiligo
Homoeopathic treatment considers its primary aim to stop or at least slow the further collapse of melanocytes and promote pigment re-formation in discoloured patches. (acts on the level of immunity)
- Treats associated ailments
Since vitiligo is associated with thyroid and diabetes, homoeopathy can treat them as well.
Often observed, it isn't easy to treat the bony areas. But the areas with flesh are more likely to be healed. The medication's effect depends on the extent to which the white patches have spread on the skin. It is most commonly seen that the skin above the lips takes the longest to heal. Similarly, the more the affected area, the longer it will take to cure.
Chances of recovery increase drastically if medical help is taken in the early stages. Then lies the primary question of whether homoeopathy can completely cure vitiligo. More or less, yes, it can! But the complete cure is not possible. Homoeopathy can stop the growth and attempt to revive as much colour back to the skin as possible. Homoeopathy can prove to be more effective than the conventional approach.