Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin condition that is characterized by a depigmentation acquired with total or partial loss of melanocytes from the epidermis.
Any part of your skin can be affected, as well as the inside of your mouth, your hair, or even between your eyes. Similar to other autoimmune conditions, vitiligo is caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own cells.
It is the disease that pop star Michael Jackson publicly disclosed that he had.
It affects all ages, sexes, and social groups and about 1 to 2 percent of the world population. In the United States, vitiligo affects approximately 4 million people.
About 50% of vitiligo patients develop this disorder before 20 years old. But, for most patients, the age of onset of vitiligo is before 40.
Sometimes the condition causes emotional distress for many patients and can often lead to anxiety and clinical depression.
Symptoms of vitiligo include loss of skin color in the form of white, or depigmented, patches of skin.
Areas of lost pigment can develop anywhere on the body, including:
- within the hearing system of the ear;
- back of the eye;
- sun-exposed areas, such as the feet, hands, face, and arms;
- inside the mouth or other mucous membranes.
Children can experience bullying and teasing as a result of having an autoimmune disease. Additionally, many adults report poor self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, lack of confidence, depression, and an inability to form relationships.
It is caused by autoreactive, melanocyte-specific CD8+ T cells that migrate from the blood into the skin and destroy melanocytes (a cell in the eyes and skin that produces and contains melanin, a pigment produced by the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine).
Also, vitiligo is usually noticed in association with the following conditions and risk factors:
- being sensitive to the sun;
- a positive family history of vitiligo;
- having Addison’s disease (a severe or total deficiency of the hormones made in the adrenal cortex);
- excessive emotional stress;
- having pernicious anemia (one of the vitamin B-12 deficiency anemias);
- premature graying of the hair (before 35 years of age);
- having thyroid or autoimmune condition, like – hyperthyroidism (a condition in which there is an overproduction of thyroid hormones);
- having diabetes (a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of blood sugar);
- having alopecia areata (an autoimmune skin disease, causing hair loss on the face and scalp);
- having adrenocortical insufficiency (a disease that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol).
To determine the presence of vitiligo, your healthcare professional will perform a physical examination as well as the following tests:
- biopsy – it is a procedure during which a sample of cells or a piece of tissue from your body is removed for testing;
- the number of antinuclear antibodies – these are autoantibodies which bind to contents of the cell nucleus;
- the TSH function of the thyroid – it is a test that is done to find out if the thyroid gland is working the way it should;
- the blood cell count – it is done to evaluate your overall health.
There are no treatments ensuring the complete cure of vitiligo. But, the following treatments may reduce the symptoms:
- micro-pigmentation – this is best for the lip area. During this treatment, your healthcare professional will tattoo pigment into your skin;
- topical creams – they can help return color to white patches in the initial stages, however, these creams can cause side effects, especially when used for a long time;
- melanocyte transplants – this therapy is best used in areas of limited vitiligo where the condition has been stable for at least 180 days and is administered in-office. During this procedure, your health care professional takes a sample of your normal pigmented skin and transplant it to your depigmented skin patches;
- oral medications – some medications, such as certain antibiotics and steroids, may be effective in treating vitiligo;
- skin grafting – for this procedure, your doctor will create blisters on your unaffected skin and transfer the top of the blister to another area;
- surgical – your doctor can recommend surgical options if your vitiligo wasn’t caused by sun damage or if you have had no new or worsening white patches in the last year;
- depigmentation – it focuses on fading the rest of the skin to match the areas which have lost color. Your healthcare professional may recommend depigmentation if more than 50% of the body is affected;
- excimer laser treatment – it aims a high-intensity ultraviolet B light dose of a wavelength of 308 nanometers. This medical treatment takes about 120 days, 2 to 3 times per week, and helps with small areas of patches;
- Narrowband UVB light – it uses a specific wavelength of ultraviolet radiation, 311 to 312 nm. This medical treatment frequently leads to fewer side effects and provides a more focused type of light therapy;
- psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy – it is used to treat severe psoriasis.
Here Is A List Of 5 Essential Oils For Vitiligo:
#1 Black Pepper
It contains piperine. According to a study published in the “British Journal of Dermatology,” there was an increase in the pigmentation of the skin of animals treated topically with piperine.
#2 Radish Seed
Apply the oil topically to the affected area and leave it there for about two hours.
This essential oil has bergapten, a substance that has a strong photosensitizing effect on the skin.
#4 Aloe Vera
Turmeric essential oil should be applied to the skin area affected by white patches two times per day.
#1 Reduction of Stress
Stress may not cause the condition, however, excess stress can lead to the growth of patches caused by the autoimmune condition.
Lifestyle changes include incorporating practices such as mindfulness meditation, tai chi, yoga, and other relaxation exercises. Also, sleep and physical exercise are the best things you can do to control the growth of the condition.
According to research, this herb has oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory attributes which could help induce repigmentation and decrease the progression of vitiligo.
#3 Red Clay
It is an effective treatment of vitiligo since it is rich in copper content.
As with any autoimmune disorder, you may benefit from immune system-boosting foods that are packed with beta-carotene, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Foods to include in your regular nutrition:
- red kidney beans;
- romaine lettuce;