Published: 11/01/2015 - Updated: 12/27/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Vitiligo is caused by cells in the body’s tissue that lose their natural pigmentation, leaving several white marks on the skin. This condition affects the melanocyte cells present in the skin, which are responsible for giving color to the skin. Whenever these cells die, however, or are affected, they stop producing the skin’s natural pigment, leaving a very light or white area.
This disease can directly affect the skin, making it more sensitive, but it can also affect one’s self-esteem. Often times, covering up the marks on the skin becomes a priority for these individuals. Although it is not contagious people with vitiligo often times experience a sense of rejection, either out of fear that they are contagious, or simply by the way their skin looks.
Recommendations for vitiligo
Be careful with the sun: It is very important to protect yourself from the sun or at least ultraviolet rays in general. Use wide spectrum sunscreen. Apply it generously half an hour before leaving the house and if you’re going swimming, or sweat profusely, try to apply again every two hours to keep your skin protected.
Other ways of protecting yourself from the sun include wearing hats, clothes that cover you throughout the day. Also avoid going out when the sun is most intense, like midday, or even being exposed for long periods of time.
Whenever you don’t protect yourself from the sun, the skin especially suffers from it. If you have vitiligo you may be prone to getting sunburns, or sun damage over time. This could aggravate the condition and it could even make the condition worse by tanning the skin around it.
Avoid getting tattoos: Micropigmentation is a tattoo technique used to reduce vitiligo marks. Although this may seem like a tempting and permanent solution, it comes with risks. The skin damage could make the disease progress even more, creating new marks. If you feel like eliminating the marks and willing to use painful techniques, these often limes leave scars. It’s very important that you be evaluated by a health professional before deciding to get micropigmentation. If you want to hide your marks I suggest using makeup to cover them; even though you need to apply it daily, it is considered a better alternative than getting tattooed.
Home and Natural Remedies
Some remedies that used natural ingredients can help fight vitiligo, however results do vary and often times require a lot of time before becoming noticeable.
- Papaya remedy: Papaya has the ability to reactivate menalocytes so that they produce melanin. This is an inexpensive remedy, however you need to be consistent with it. We advise rubbing a bit of papaya pulp on the white mark, allowing the juice to dry. Apply again a few more times. You could also drink papaya juice daily to strengthen the effects.
- Red clay: This is helpful because its copper content can help return pigmentation to the skin. Prepare a mixture with two tablespoons of red clay and one tablespoon of ginger juice. Apply to the marks and allow to act for 10 to 15 minutes. This mixture improves better blood flow to the area which could also improve the condition and the appearance of the skin.
- Turmeric: This spice is extremely useful for coloring skin. It should be consumed and an easy way of preparing it is to dice half a kilo of raw turmeric and one quarter kilo of ginger root. Place is a jar and add the juice from 5 fresh lemons. Add a bit of salt and mix well. Save in the fridge. Eat two teaspoons of it before every meal. Another option is to apply turmeric directly to the skin. Prepare a turmeric infusion and strain it. Add a squirt of mustard seed oil, mix well and apply to your skin marks twice a day.
- Duckweed: this is a small aquatic plant that often times grows in lakes and tanks. Duckweed can be ground into a paste and then added to a teaspoon of honey. We recommend consuming this mixture daily, twice a day after eating.
- Ginkgo biloba: You can consume ginkgo biloba supplements to help stop the rate at which the vitiligo progresses, and it can even reduce the marks on your skin. According to several studies, this is effective although you should see a doctor in alternative medicine.
- Ginger: This root has multiple medicinal properties and can also be useful for fighting vitiligo as it promotes blood circulation. To use it, mix a bit of ground ginger root in one teaspoon of mustard seed oil and a pinch of turmeric powder. Create a paste, then apply to the skin patches.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/27/2017
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