What Is Vitiligo?
In vitiligo, the skin loses its pigment. Pigment (also called melanin) is produced by the cells called melanocytes and causes the skin color.
Some people lose pigment in patches of a normal skin, and this pigment is replaced by white flat patches with irregular borders. These patches, caused due to loss of pigmentation, can occur in a small portion of the body or areas covering over 50% of the body. Body parts that are more exposed to the sun are more likely to be affected by vitiligo. E.g. hands, arms, face or feet. However, sometimes it can happen in genitalia also.
Vitiligo can be managed but not cured. You’ll need to handle the disorder for rest of your life. Since vitiligo isn’t contagious and doesn’t cause pain, it isn’t dangerous. Vitiligo can affect females and males equally. The depigmentation or patches are more noticeable/ visible in people with dark skin.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitiligo?
The absence of the pigment on the skin is the main symptom of vitiligo. There are three different patterns of depigmentation that may show up in people with vitiligo:
- Focal pattern: The loss of skin color is visible in only a few small areas.
- Segmental pattern: Depigmentation or patches of color change occur on one side of the body.
- Generalized pattern: The patches are visible on both sides of the body and there is a symmetrical pattern.
What Are The Causes Of Vitiligo?
Though the exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, experts feel that the following could be the probable causes of vitiligo:
- Autoimmune disease, in which the immune system of the body attacks its own body cells.
- Hereditary or genetic. Chances of a person getting vitiligo are more of somebody in the family has had it.
- Stress or sunburn can also trigger the disease.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Vitiligo?
- Take good care of your health and work on maintaining the strong immune system in order to reduce the risk of getting vitiligo.
- Sometimes drugs like immunomodulators are given to people with small patches of vitiligo.
- UVA therapy also has proven helpful in certain cases, though your doctor is the best person to decide your course of treatment.
- Always apply a high SPF sunscreen.
- Since sunlight should be avoided by the people with vitiligo, there is a possibility of developing vitamin D deficiency. So, take vitamin D supplements to avoid the deficiency of this vitamin.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Vitiligo?
- Avoid sun exposure whenever you can as people with vitiligo may get sunburns.
- Do not use any skin cream without consulting a doctor.
- Do not take stress as it increases the speed of spread of vitiligo.
What Are The Best Foods For Vitiligo?
- Take lots of green leafy vegetables.
- Beetroot, carrot, radish, dates, figs, and chickpeas are recommended in vitiligo.
- Fruits like mangoes, walnut, grapes, dates, apricot, and papaya should be added to the menu.
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants like cranberries, kidney beans, goji berries, and dark chocolates.
What Are The Worst Foods For Vitiligo?
The following foods should be avoided by people with vitiligo:
- Spices, excess salt, and trans-fats.
- Acidic foods hamper the production of melanin, hence should be avoided.
- Refrain from consuming dairy products on regular basis, as they restrict the re-pigmentation rate.
- Red meat should be avoided except calf liver which is a good source of copper. Copper increases the production of melanin.
- Avoid citrus foods like lemons, oranges or gooseberry as they reduce the production of melanin.
What Are The Medicines For Vitiligo?
What Are The Tips To Manage Vitiligo?
You can try some creams for vitiligo. These creams mostly have steroids, which help in re-pigmentation of the skin. But beware of side-effects of the steroids.