What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a loss of skin pigment that causes white spots or patches to appear on the skin. No one knows exactly why this happens, but it affects people of all races, many of them children and adolescents. It is not medically dangerous. It's not the same as skin cancer. It is not an infection like MRSA. AIt's also not infectious, so you can't catch it from another person. In fact, most people with vitiligo are just as healthy as everyone else. The long-term condition where the skin starts losing its pigment, where skin will become patches and converted into pale white color and appear in different parts of the body. The hair on the skin and inner parts of the mouth and nose also convert into pale white color. Firstly the patches begin on the outer part of the skin that is exposed to sunlight. According to Wikipedia, almost 1% of the world’s population is affected by Vitiligo.
Segmental is nonuniform Vitiligo and spreads rapidly, it is more constant and stable when compared to Non-segmental vitiligo. It is very rare and is seen in only 10% of the cases. It mainly occurs in the areas where the skin is attached to nerves. It mainly occurs to the people who are in younger age
If the white patches are formed uniformly on the body is called Non-segmental vitiligo. This is common in 90% of cases. The patches appear uniformly on both sides and mainly occurs on the body parts like Neck, nose, face, hands that are exposed to the sun. The Non-segmental vitiligo is further divided into 5 types:
The patches occur on the body which has no particular size and shape and can occur in any part of the body. This is the most common type.
In this type of vitiligo, the patches occur mainly on the toes, fingers, and hands.
If the white patches occur around mucous membranes and lips is called Mucosal.
If the vitiligo spreads almost every part of the body then it is Universal.
The white patches occur discontinuously on a body then it is focal, it is mostly seen in children.
The changes in the immune system are considered the main cause of vitiligo. In most cases, it occurs genetically the hair color and skin color are determined by melanocytes which generate melanin. If that melanocyte stops producing melanin then it occurs. In some cases, sunburns are the cause of it. People with dark skin are more affected by vitiligo Industrial chemicals will also affect the production of melanin that will cause vitiligo. The major symptom is white patches on the skin, change in color in the inner layer of the eyeball. It can start at any age but is often seen in people who are below 20. The white patches will be irregular and cause irritation, discomfort, and dryness in the skin. The symptoms are different for different people like some people will be affected only by some parts of the body whereas some are affected on two sides of the body and for some people, & is limited for only one particular part.
Vitiligo does not have a permanent cure, the treatment is only to stop spreading it. Treatment works better if it started at an early stage( perhaps before 2 or 3 months after starting). If the white spots are developing slowly then we can treat them very fast than other cases. If the skin parts contain more hair then there are chances of curing is high when compared to the skin parts with less hair because the pigments in the hair will migrate to the upper surface of the skin to repigment the skin. The parts of skin that are recovered very fast are Face, Chest, Arms, legs. And hands, wrist, feet, hips have fewer chances of recovery after treatment. Types of treatments:
- Non-Cultured Epidermal cellular drafting
- Steroid Creams
- Uv therapy
- Excimer laser
- Micro tattooing
Despite any evidence, some people prevented vitiligo by following some tips.
- Drinking a lot of water can boost the body’s immune system that can prevent it.
- Having green leafy vegetables, fruits like bananas, apples can prevent it.
- To prevent the formation of white patches avoid consuming alcohol, coffee, fish, red meat.
- Consuming food that contains vitamin B, C, amino acids and Folic acids can prevent these white patches.
- The skin pigment cells are destroyed when the skin is affected by wounds, burns, sunburns. Avoiding deep skin woods and burns will prevent it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does it start?
When melanocytes stop producing melanin, then white patches start on the body. It can start at any age but it predominantly appears between the 20 and 30 years age group. It often appears on the body parts which are exposed to the sun and slowly spread throughout the body. The main reason for vitiligo is the loss of pigmentation. It appears equally in both men and women.
2. Is it hereditary?
It often occurs in different individuals in the same family. Almost 30 to 40% of people who are affected with vitiligo also have a family member in it. There are 5% chances that it can transfer from mother to baby. But still, there is no particular proof of how and why it is hereditary.
3. Can we stop it from spreading?
Yes, we can stop spreading vitiligo by immediate medication. After recognizing the white patches on the body immediately consult a dermatologist to stop spreading all over the body.
4. Can vitiligo cause skin cancer?
It occurs due to the loss of pigment in the skin. But there are no research proofs that it will cause cancer. But in some cases, skin cancer-affected people are also affected by vitiligo. But till now there is no proof that it will cause cancer.
5. Can vitiligo be caused by stress?
Vitiligo will not be caused by stress but, if melanocytes stop producing melanin then it occurs. There are some cases where it is increased by stress. If a person is already affected by vitiligo then the white patches will spread over the body if he is stressed.
6. Are bananas good for vitiligo?
If the body has a less immune system then the melanocytes stop producing melanin that causes vitiligo. So there is no separate diet for it. A particular fruit or food cannot cure it. A proper and complete nutritional diet from different fruits and vegetables will prevent it.
7. Is milk not advisable for vitiligo?
Many people believe that milk causes vitiligo or milk is not advisable for vitiligo patients. But it is just a myth. As milk contains calcium and nutrition levels that improve immunity in the body. So as milk is an essential diet for people who are having vitiligo.
8. Difference between leucoderma and vitiligo
There is no difference between leucoderma and vitiligo. Leuco means white and derma means patches. Another name for it is leucoderma.