Vitiligo is a long-term condition that causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin due to lack of a chemical called melanin. It can affect any area of your skin, but most commonly occurs on skin exposed to the sun, such as your face, neck and hands.
The condition varies from person to person. Some people only get a few small, white patches that progress no further. Other people get bigger white patches that join up across large areas of their skin. There is no way of predicting how much of your skin will be affected.
The main symptom of vitiligo is flat, white spots or patches on your skin, with the first patch usually developing where the skin has been exposed to the sun.
Initially, the vitiligo may start as a patch of skin that is paler than the rest of your skin. Gradually the patch will become completely white. Sometimes the centre of a patch may be white with pale skin around it. In areas where there are blood vessels under the skin, the patch may be slightly pink rather than white.
The edges of the patch may be smooth or irregular. Sometimes the edges are inflamed (red) or there is hyperpigmentation (brownish discolouration of the skin).
Vitiligo does not cause physical discomfort to your skin, such as dryness, but patches may occasionally be itchy.
If you have vitiligo, the pale areas of your skin are more vulnerable to sunburn.
The areas most commonly affected by vitiligo include:
the skin around the mouth and eyes
fingers and wrists
inside your mouth
Sometimes vitiligo can develop where there are hair roots, such as on your scalp. The lack of melanin in your skin can turn the hair in the affected area white or grey.
There are two main types of vitiligo:
- non-segmental vitiligo
- segmental vitiligo
In rare cases, it is possible for vitiligo to affect your whole body. This is known as universal or complete vitiligo.
In non-segmental vitiligo (also called bilateral or generalised vitiligo), the symptoms of vitiligo often appear on both sides of your body as symmetrical white patches. Symmetrical patches can appear on areas such as the:
backs of your hands
Non-segmental vitiligo is the most common type of vitiligo, affecting up to nine out of 10 people with the condition.
Sometimes the white patches may only affect one area of your body. This is known as segmental, unilateral or localised vitiligo. Segmental vitiligo is less common than non-segmental vitiligo, although it is more common in children. Segmental vitiligo usually starts earlier and affects three in 10 children who have vitiligo.
If you have vitiligo, it is difficult to predict whether your condition will spread from the original patch or how fast it may spread, as it is different for everyone.
It is likely that more white patches will appear. For some people this can happen quickly. For others, the patches may stay the same for months or years.
If the white patches appear symmetrically on more than one part of your body, the condition may progress quite slowly, with periods when the patches do not change. If you have white patches on only one area of your body, the condition may progress more rapidly.
Vitiligo is caused by the lack of a skin pigment called melanin, which is produced by skin cells called melanocytes, and which gives your skin its colour.
If you have vitiligo, you do not have enough working melanocytes, so not enough melanin is produced in your skin. This causes white patches to develop on your skin or hair. It is not clear exactly why the melanocytes disappear from the affected areas of skin.
The causes of non-segmental and segmental vitiligo may be slightly different.
- Autoimmune conditions – Non-segmental vitiligo, the most common type of vitiligo, is thought to be an autoimmune condition. This means that your immune system (the body’s natural defence system) does not work properly. Instead of attacking foreign cells, such as viruses, your immune system produces antibodies (infection-fighting proteins) that attack your body’s own healthy cells and tissue. If you have non-segmental vitiligo, your immune system produces antibodies that destroy the melanocyte skin cells that make melanin. Vitiligo is associated with other autoimmune conditions, such as hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland).
- Neurochemicals – Segmental vitiligo, the less common type of vitiligo, is thought to be caused by chemicals released from the nerve endings in your skin. These chemicals are poisonous to the melanocyte skin cells.
You may be at higher risk of developing non-segmental vitiligo if:
- someone in your family has it – around 20% of people with vitiligo know another family member who has it
- you have a family history of other autoimmune conditions – for example, one of your parents has pernicious anaemia (an autoimmune condition that affects your stomach)
- you have another autoimmune condition
- you have melanoma (a type of skin cancer) or cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a type of cancer of the lymphatic system)
- you have particular changes in your genes that are known to be linked to non-segmental vitiligo
It is possible that the vitiligo may be triggered by particular events, for example:
- stressful events, such as childbirth
- damage to your skin, such as severe sunburn or cuts (this is known as the Koebner response)
- exposure to certain chemicals – for example, at work
Vitiligo is not caused by an infection and you cannot catch it from someone else who has the condition.
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here.
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Eliminate Candida: Click here to find out how
- Do the Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol to strengthen the immune system:
- Drink 3oz of Colloidal Silver, three or four times a day for 60 days www.colloidsforlife.com Silver has long been recognised as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water. It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.
- Go on a fast to clear your system of toxic waste www.wecarespa.com
- Try an Enerhealth Botanicals cleanse. Click here to discover more
- We recommend regular colonics to remove toxicity from the body. Read more about colonics by clicking here. Find a practitioner here.
- Most of the water that we drink is very acidic and in order to heal our bodies need a more alkaline state. During the programme drink alkalised water, which you can buy from Real Water www.drinkrealwater.com
It is important to not add further toxicity to your system so try to adhere to the following:
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Take an Omega 3 supplement:
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
As always the fastest most effective way to receive tailored advice to your own situation, you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Ayurvedic practitioners here.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Ayurveda adopts three kinds of therapy for vitiligo dependings on the condition, age, etc.
- Pacification therapy – with Herbal, Mineral or herbo-mineral medications.
- Detoxification therapies – Since this disease itself is because of vitiated Pitta dosha, Ayurveda recommends two-fold purification therapies like purgation and bloodletting therapy (Leech therapy)
External Application: Smaller and non/slow spreading patches are usually treated with herbal powder or oil applications. Ayurveda also recommends this type of treatment for children below the age of 7.
Ayurvedic texts mention about many single and compound herbal combinations for Vitiligo. Interestingly, these medicational formulae are very well validated by modern scientific researches. For example, a 60 ml liquid extract of Acacia catechu bark is advised every morning by Ayurveda texts for Leucoderma and Vitiligo. This particular practice is very well documented by modern scientific research.
One herb that is useful in treating leucoderma and vitiligo is Bakuchi/Vakuchi (Psorolia corolifolia) – it is used as internal medication, external application, etc. It is used to prepare soaps, external applications, internal medications by both Ayurveda and modern pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Modern scientific research agrees that this herbal application acts on melanoblastic cells and successfully stimulates it.
Ayurveda Panchakarma for vitiligo
Ayurveda recommends its fivefold detoxification therapies for the complete cure for vitiligo.
a. Therapeutic vomiting: Vamana is a medicated emesis therapy which removes Kapha toxins collected in the body and the respiratory tract. This is given to people with high Kapha imbalance. Daily treatment involves loosening and mobilizing the toxins in an effort to finally eliminate them.
b. Therapeutic purgation: Virechana is medicated purgation therapy which removes Pitta toxins from the body that are accumulated in the liver and gall bladder; it completely cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract. It is a safe procedure without side effects.
c. Therapeutic enema therapy: Basti (Enema) is considered the mother of all Panchakarma treatments since it cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the 3 doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the colon. Basti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction is given as enema to clean the colon and increase muscle tone. This procedure is usually applied for 8 to 30 days, based on the medical condition of a person
d. Therapeutic Nasal Drops: Nasya involves administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse accumulated Kapha toxins from the head and neck region. Based on the medical condition of a person, it can be given up to 30 days.
e. Therapeutic bloodletting therapy: Rakta mokshana is a procedure used to cleanse the blood and is advised only in very rare conditions. It is not advisable during general Panchakarma.
Home remedies for vitiligo
1. Take 5 teaspoons of turmeric powder and mix in 250 ml of mustard oil and apply on the white patches of skin, twice a day, usually advised for a period of 12-15 months.
2. Application of sweet basil leaves extract with lemon juice, advised for 5-6 months.
3. Most of the traditional Indian practitioners advise the patient to drink water kept overnight in a copper vessel
4. Tamarind seeds and Psorolia seeds (Bakuchi Seeds) are soaked in the water used to wash rice for 7 days. Then, this is ground into a paste and applied on the patches to give immediate results. This is a very effective method, however for some people it resulted in burning sensation and boils.
5. Fresh ginger juice with Bakuchi powder mix – Obese persons with spots on highly muscular areas
6. Application of radish (white) seeds with vinegar is widely practiced in Calcutta.
7. Many parts of Kerala advise Bakuchi seed powder with coconut oil to be used for external application
8. Some specialised practitioners in Kerala advise the following as diet for 40 days with external application – 600 gm raw cucumber and 3 betel leaves three times a day and food made from bitter gourd.
9. Ginger juice with red clay is used for external application in Karnataka
Traditional Chinese Medicine
To receive bespoke advice based upon your own situation you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners here.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Use 4 drops of essential oil per 25ml of carrier oil.
To ensure positive results, always check that the essential oil is a 100% pure plant distillation and that it comes from a reputable source.
Owing to the principles behind homeopathy it is essential you see a licensed practitioner to receive your own personalised prescription. Find your closest Homeopath here.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Yoga – The physical postures and breathing exercises comprising the practice of yoga have long been proven by scientific research to promote feelings of relaxation while simultaneously strengthening the body. Research conducted since the 1970s has shown that regular yoga practice not only relieves stress, and stressful emotions such as anxiety and depression, but also improves blood pressure rates and overall cardiovascular health. Yoga is also effective for reducing pain, improving gastrointestinal and respiratory function, and for improving cognitive function and enhancing sight and hearing.
Note: If you are just beginning to explore yoga, it is recommended that you initially do so under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor who can guide you to become aware of the subtleties involved in each yoga posture as well as the corresponding method of breathing.
Qigong – Is a wonderful form of exercise, breath work and meditation to relieve stress and tension in the body. See article section for more information about the art of qigong.
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ancient Healing www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/traditional_chinese_ancient_healing.php
The best way to cleansing and purification of the body www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/54_the_best_way_to_cleansing_and_purification_of_the_body_110512.php
Mother Nature’s Natural Germ Fighters naturalhealthdossier.com/2012/03/mother-natures-natural-germ-fighters
Immune health NC_Newsletter_07-11.pdf
Squeaky Clean (Colonic Irrigation) www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/squeaky_clean.php
Heal Your Body and Raise Your Consciousness – Qigong NC_Newsletter_12-08.pdf
Health Care that Won’t Cost You a Single Penny – EFT NC_Newsletter_12-06.pdf
Become Master of Your Mind – taking charge of your reaction to stress NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Hypnotherapy for stress management – why it is so effective www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/hypnotherapy_for_stress.php
EFT for treating disease www.garythink.com/eft/physicial.html
Further Information (links and books)
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food … A-To-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies) by Phyllis Balch
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindi Green
Detox and revitalize by Susana L. Belen
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines by Michael Castleman and Prevention Magazine
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
judith hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.