What is vitiligo ?
We usually take our skin’s pigmentation for granted till we either lose it or have too much of it. Vitiligo or leucoderma is a pigment disorder in which there is loss of skin color leading to milky white patches on the skin. People of all races and ethnicities have Vitiligo.
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What are the symptoms of Vitiligo?
People who develop vitiligo usually first notice white patches or spots on their skin. The skin remains normal textured, though some people experience itching in areas where the white patches are forming.
The white patches are more obvious in sun-exposed areas, including the hands, feet, arms, legs, face, and lips. Other common areas for white patches to appear are the armpits, groin and around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, navel and genitals.
Vitiligo in children is more common in girls than boys and starts with the segmental pattern. Koebnerization is frequently seen in children. Koebnerization is the development of white patches at sites of injury or trauma. Children experience frequent skin trauma during normal play. A family history of white patches is observed in 10% of adults. In contrast 12% to 35% is observed in children. Further adults with white patches are usually found to be suffering from a number of autoimmune diseases like diabetes, thyroiditis and alopecia areata. In contrast children are usually healthy.
What are the types of Vitiligo ?
In addition to white patches on the skin, some people with Vitiligo may experience white hair growing in on the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard. Vitiligo generally appears in one of three patterns
In this pattern the spots or patches are limited to one or only a few areas
Sometimes the white patches develop only on one side of the body, thus called segmental Vitiligo
For most people who have Vitiligo, the white patches occur on different parts of the body in a bilateral pattern.
What is the course of vitiligo?
Will the white patches spread over time? Will they get larger? Will the patches come on the face? These are questions which are most frequently asked. The answer is not so simple. In many cases, white patches do spread slowly over time. This however is not true in every case. There is no certain way of knowing whether the white patches will progress or not.
The course and severity of pigment loss differ with each person. In many cases vitiligo begins in a small area. Over time other spots may appear while existing spots may grow larger. Some people notice that their vitiligo may stay the same for years or even decades and then suddenly new patches may occur. Occasionally vitiligo patches may re-pigment spontaneously all by themselves with no treatment whatsoever. Many people with vitiligo do notice this happening at some point in their lives.
What are the causes of vitiligo?
Despite advanced research, medicine is still trying to figure out the exact cause of Vitiligo. Scientists have not completely understood the disorder and there are numerous theories. However a genetic predisposition or susceptibility to vitiligo exists in most people who develop vitiligo.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system sees the persons own melanoyctyes as foreign bodies and mistakenly attacks and destroys them. It can also be attributed to an abnormally functioning nervous system which may produce substances that injures melanocytes.
It is found that people with a genetic predisposition are more likely to suffer from vitiligo. In about 10% of families where a person has vitiligo the condition is seen in another family member. Though no one else in your family may show signs of vitiligo it is still possible that it is passed on genetically.
The most likely reason for this is that genes are inherited in a random fashion from both parents, so only sometimes will the genes which make a person susceptible to vitiligo come together in the same person. Those who do not inherit a complete set of the abnormal genes are unlikely to develop the disorder. Those people who do inherit a complete set may also need some other factor to trigger the vitiligo patches to appear. In this way vitiligo genes can pass through several generations of a family without anyone actually developing vitiligo.
Vitiligo can be caused because of oxidative stress in which there is an over-accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the skin. Every person develops hydrogen peroxide in the skin, as a result of natural biological processes. An enzyme called catalase normally breaks down the hydrogen peroxide in the skin into water and oxygen. However, some people with vitiligo may have a problem manufacturing, using or delivering catalase to the skin.
The most common chemical that can induce white patches on the skin is para-phenylene diamine (PPD) in hair dyes. As PPD can also be found in black socks and footwear, the white patches may also affect the feet. Chemically induced white patches are also caused due to contact with para-tertiary butyl phenol (PTBP) found in adhesive bindi, cleansing and cosmetic products or in deodorants. The white patch initially presents at the site of application but can spread beyond the area as well.
Emotional stress, grief and traumatic events have been found to trigger vitiligo. The melanocytes are more susceptible to the damaging chemicals produced during emotional stress.
Hormonal phases like puberty, pregnancy, menopause, thyroid abnormalities, uncontrolled diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome can trigger vitiligo in people who are susceptible.
Scratches or common wounds or serious lesions from accidents, or severe sun burns can trigger vitiligo.
Diet, nutrition and digestive disorders may play a role in the destruction of melanocytes. Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, folate, copper and zinc have been associated.
What are the complications of vitiligo?
Other than the white patches on the skin, there are no other physical symptoms of Vitiligo. The patches of Vitiligo tend to sunburn more easily.
Vitiligo by itself does not lead to other conditions. However there are other autoimmune conditions which may arise in Vitiligo patients like thyroid disorders, diabetes, alopecia areata, pernicious anemia and lupus.
What Is The Psychological Impact Of Vitiligo?
In the 1960s Vitiligo was considered by Jawaharlal Nehru to be one of the three major medical problems in India in addition to leprosy and malaria. Even today in conservative families it is common to consider affected individuals or members of their family as unfit for marriage.
Women with Vitiligo are often discriminated against in marriage. If they develop Vitiligo after marriage, it can be grounds for divorce. Hence it is life-changing even though it is neither contagious nor life-threatening.
Those affected and their families face social stigmatization leading to low self-esteem, anxiety, embarrassment, anger and even serious depression. This can happen regardless of the extent of the illness, especially when exposed areas such as face and hands are affected.
Are there any myths surrounding vitiligo ?
Because of the stigma attached to the disease and limited understanding of its causes till today there are many myths that surround white patches.
Myth 1 – White patches are caused by consuming milk over fish or by eating anything that’s white in color
This is far from the truth and there is absolutely no scientific basis to this theory. Some are advised to completely avoid white colored food including milk. Apart from the trauma of having to suffer from white patches, patients are further imposed with unnecessary diet restrictions. This makes the patient live in fear and constant guilt for not being able to follow diet restrictions. Furthermore it can make the patient suffer from dietary deficiencies and in fact worsen the white patches. In reality Vitiligo has no connection with diet nor does it have any impact on the severity of this condition
Myth 2 – White patches are caused because of a curse. Touching a person with white patches or eating food cooked by the person will make it spread to others.
This is also not true. By nature, Vitiligo is merely a pigment disorder and does not influence the physical or mental abilities. Vitiligo is not contagious by nature therefore cannot be transmitted through touch, sharing personal items, saliva or intercourse. It is not related to disorders such as leprosy or cancer.
It is time to shun these old school misconceptions. Those who look down upon patients with white patches are more in need of help than the people suffering from it.
How skin specialists diagnosed vitiligo in Bangalore?
When you approach a skin specialist for vitiligo treatment in Bangalore, they first diagnose it. They go through your medical history and then analyze your skin health. They also use a wood lamp for getting a better look at your skin. This lamp lets them see the infected areas of this disease.
If your dermatologist finds even a small symptom of vitiligo, they may recommend you for a blood test. Since it’s an autoimmune disease, people who are suffering from this disease can suffer from problems like the throid. Blood tests help you find thyroid disease.
Once they provide you with a diagnosis, your doctor will ask you whether you wish to cure this disease and will suggest the best treatment for vitiligo.
How to Prevent Vitiligo?
You can prevent vitiligo in several ways such as self-care, consuming a healthy diet, home remedies, and more. No matter which method for treatment for white patches you want to go with, you should discuss the same with your dermatologist. They will give you a suggestion based on your condition.
You can even use sunscreen to prevent vitiligo. Make sure the sunscreen that you use is broad spectrum and also water resistant. All you need to do is apply sunscreen properly and then also reapply for at least two hours or even more. Those who are sweating or swimming can use sunscreen at least for every two hours. You also need to wear those types of clothes that are capable of shielding your skin from the sunlight. You should not use sunlamps and tanning beds.
Did You Know?
Scientists found out that a molecule in black pepper, called Piperine has the potential to stimulate a uniform pigmentation in the skin and produced results which were cosmetically better than conventional therapies.
Treatment Options Available For Vitiligo at Dr. Health Clinic
For many people, the appearance of Vitiligo spells doom. Almost everyone begins to imagine the worst. However, it is important to note that there is more research and treatment options available today than ever before. Therapies like PUVA, narrow-band UVB, lasers, skin grafting, pigment transplantation, use of immunomodulators, and topical applications and oral medications that stimulate melanin have also been developed. The Re-pigmentation therapy offered by Dr. Health consists of a combination of therapies.
Pigment Stimulating Topical Applications
These include topical applications that work with unprotected natural sunlight exposure to stimulate the production of melanin from the damaged cells.
Immune-Modulating Oral Medication
Vitiligo is caused when the immune system mistakenly identifies the pigment cells as foreign bodies and destroys them. The immune-modulating medicines work by blocking these faulty signals in the immune system that cause inflammation and cell damage.
Sun light and UV Therapies
The exposure to UV rays from sunlight or artificial light enables absorption of concentrated doses of Vitamin D, which then stimulates the production of melanin pigment.
Combination therapy with UVA light and oral medication
This is effective in cases with large areas of skin affected by Vitiligo.
Vitiligo can result from oxidative stress caused due to over-accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the skin. It then causes progressive destruction of selected melanocytes causing white patches to appear and spread. The antioxidant therapy works by repairing the cell damage and restoring the pigmentation.
This is indicated for people with widespread vitiligo who are not responsive to treatment. Depigmentation therapy lightens the skin in the unaffected areas so that it blends with the affected areas.
consists of advice on a healthy balanced diet with nutrients from a variety of sources that can be helpful in treating Vitiligo. Some foods or food additives that can have a detrimental effect on Vitiligo may need to be avoided, based on specific allergies or irritation.
Apart from treatment the right skin care & lifestyle changes can be helpful. Patients often need to change their lifestyle depending on their individual presentation of Vitiligo. For example, stress can act as a barrier and prevent even the most effective treatments from working. Also, if the thyroid and blood sugar levels are abnormal, there are less chances of preventing the spread of white patches. Newer lesions can also be avoided by reducing the risk of skin friction and trauma. Other triggering factors like infections, allergens, worms, or irritants need to be determined and ruled out. Sun protection is extremely necessary.
There is no one treatment that works for everyone. Different therapies work better for different people. While one person may respond extremely well to topical applications another may respond better to light therapy or to immunomodulators. For this reason, often a combination approach using two or more therapies is used for optimal results.
The aim of the combined approach is to repigment the existing patches and limit the number of newer white patches till an effective cure can be sought.
Why Choose Us For Vitiligo Treatment?
Precision in Diagnosis
Every white patch does not mean vitiligo. Being a leading centre for vitiligo treatment, we investigate thoroughly. This coupled with the fact that we have the best doctor for vitiligo treatment in Bangalore ensures that every diagnosis is precise and accurate.
Expert Skin Consultant
Our vitiligo specialist is Dr. Pranjal Shamsher who has three decades of experience treating skin disorders. She has crafted a multi-therapy approach that is superior to other white patches treatment that have been previously done.
Advanced Vitiligo Treatment Methods
Bringing some of the most advanced and effective dermatological diagnostic technologies to our patients is our top priority. Before establishing a diagnosis, we conduct a thorough dermatec analysis of the patient’s skin. Our specialist uses the most advanced vitiligo treatment methods to determine the patients; skin disorders.
In addition to our top-tier white patches treatment, we also give nutritional and dietary advice to our patients. So that the skin disorder can be dealt with effectively.
Latest vitiligo Treatment Methods
As a premier best vitiligo treatment in Bangalore, we have incorporated all the vitiligo related latest techniques and technology into our system.
Our Patients Reviews
I have been undergoing for white patches treatment in Bangalore on my skin with Dr. Health Clinic since I was in school. Over the years there has been tremendous success and improvement. My skin has healed and the white patches have 95% gone. I am still associated with Dr. Health and still undergoing the treatment but results are fantastic. Very very happy satisfied.
my 22 year daughter has large vitiligo spots over her entire body including her face. we have been to so many doctors allopathic, homeopathic, ayurvedic but no results. Then one day our neighbor lady who was already on treatment with Dr. Health told us about this treatment and good results in her case after using medicines from Dr.Pranjal. We immediately rushed to her and after consultation we have built lot of hope that our daughter got cured of vitiligo. Finally we started the treatment. Within first fifteen days we saw lot of redness over her entire patches which we confirmed as a good sign. We the saw brown dots over her face, stomach and leg patches and month after month she got normal skin at least I can say 70% by the end of seven months.
I had 10 to 12 white patches on my legs. I was unable to wear shorts. I took one year treatment for vitiligo from Dr. Pranjal shamsher clinic in hsr layout and all patches are gone, now only 1-2 spots are remaining. She is very experienced and knowledgeable. Some of my relatives also taking vitiligo treatment with her. She gives solutions to all ur skin problem. it’s really good and you can consult them for all ur problems and for the best results. I prefer all Dr Health clinic for their all-skin problems.
when you take vitiligo treatment you want it to work. This is only expectation. I am happy to say that vitiligo treatment worked well. I had white patches on my eyelids and on finger tips. In the start it was slow, but then skin colored dots started coming and the patches got covered. I did not have any side-effects. Vitiligo Treatment is very effective.
Doctor is good. 50% of my anxiety went away in the first consultation itself. I have started vitiligo treatment only a few weeks back but I have a good feeling about this treatment. Vitiligo Treatment is simple to follow and for a busy person like me it’s a bonus.
Hello I am having your vitiligo treatment, my reference WHF2108. With your medicine, there is remarkable improvement in white patches, many black dots have started appearing and this is giving me confidence that this can be cure. Thank you very much mam for such good and side effect free treatment for vitiligo.
Frequently Asked Questions for Vitiligo Treatment
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, the exact cause of which is not known. However various factors are known to precipitate vitiligo. Emotional stress, hereditary factors, worms, burns or even injuries are associated with vitiligo. 30% of the patients are found to have a family history and 20% of them are found to have an underlying disease. Sometimes diseases like hyperthyroidism, Anemia, and Diabetes are known to aggravate the condition. At the same time, having these diseases does not mean that one will develop vitiligo.
People with a family history of vitiligo are at a higher risk of developing vitiligo as compared to others. People with autoimmune disorders like thyroid imbalance, diabetes or iron deficiency anaemia may be prone to vitiligo.
Researchers believe that there is a genetic basis to white spots. Though no one else in your family may show signs of white spots, it is still possible that it is passed on genetically. Genes are inherited in a random fashion from both parents, so only sometimes will the genes which make a person susceptible to white patches come together in the same person. Those who do no inherit a complete set of abnormal genes are unlikely to develop the white spots. Those, who do inherit a complete set, may also need a trigger to start the disorder. In this way the genes can pass through several generations without anyone actually developing the disorder.
White Patches are caused due to several reasons. White patches which are present at birth are called Nevus Depigmentosus. They are stable and non-progressive but grow in proportion to the growth of the body. White patches caused by fungal infection are called Tinea Versicolor. Idiopathic Hypo-melanosis is a genetic disease with tiny white spots on arms and legs. These spots become more visible with sun exposure. White patches due to vitiligo or leucoderma are caused due to self-destruction of melanocytes. Chronic white patches due to Ptyriasis Alba are commonly seen in children on the face. Once a proper diagnosis is made, white patches are quite amenable to treatment. It is important to rule out nutritional and blood deficiencies.
How can we differentiate between the white patches caused by vitiligo from those caused due to fungal infections?
At Dr. Health we use Dermatec skin analysis to differentiate between them. On skin analysis there are characteristic signs that differentiate white patches caused due to vitiligo from those caused due to fungal infection. vitiligo patches appear as irregular milky white patches with a well demarcated outline that is darker than the other skin. They may occur anywhere on the body, but the common sites are around lips, eyelids, margins if the nostrils, fingers, and toe- tips or are symmetrically distributed on the legs, hands, chest and back. Fungal patches on the other hand are faint white and appear flaky on the surface. They occur mostly on sweat prone areas and distinctly glow under Dermatec lamp.
Certain Nutrients and phytochemicals like tyrosine, amino acids, vitamin B12 are good for vitiligo. Iron rich foods like Lotus stem is found to have a beneficial effect on vitiligo and forms a very good adjunct to the main line of treatment. St. John’s wort is used to treat vitiligo patients with depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Other healing foods like sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds are also good for vitiligo.
Yes, research has confirmed the link between vitiligo and hair dye. Hair dyes contain chemicals called Phenols and Paraphenylenediamine (PPD). Phenol is used in hair dyes because it undergoes a chemical reaction that allows it to become a coloring agent. PPD is used to make the color last. Both of these chemicals are toxic in high amounts and can damage the pigment producing cells called melanocytes. Hair dyes are therefore considered a trigger for vitiligo.
As per a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, consumer items like sticker bindis, rain shoes or plastic chappals, lipsticks, hair dye or black henna (kali mehndi), wallets and even mobile plastic covers have been documented to cause chemical vitiligo. The chemicals responsible are azo dyes and para-tertiary butyl phenol (PTPB). Once the causative agent is identified and avoided, and the depigmented patch is treated, the skin color usually comes back to normal in most cases. As consumers, it is important for us to be generally aware of these items and their effects on the skin. This can prevent the devastating consequences of permanent loss of skin color.
The stigma is due to the false beliefs that prevail about white patches around the world. Some think white patches are caused by consuming milk over fish. However, this is far from the truth and there is no scientific basis to this theory. Some are advised to completely avoid white coloured food including milk. This makes the patient live in fear and constant guilt for not being able to follow diet restrictions. Further some communities believe that it is a curse and will spread by touch. This is also not true. By nature, white patches are merely pigment disorder like hyper-pigmentation or dark circles and are quite amenable to treatment. There is no stigma associated with white patches in today’s time and age. Most educated people are aware of its causation and know that it is not contagious. Patients with vitiligo need to free themselves from the mental block and consider a suitable treatment.
The answer is not so simple. In many cases, white patches spread slowly over time. This however is not true in every case. There is no certain way of knowing whether the white patches will progress or not. By nature, it is a slow progressing condition. Many patients report that they may go many years without new patches developing and then may discover new patches appearing years later. Some patients even report spots that spontaneously re- pigment with no treatment at all. With newer advances in medicine there are better treatments for re-pigmentation of white patches.
Various factors are known to precipitate white patches. Emotional stress, hereditary factors, worms, burns and skin injuries are some of them. Only about 30% of the patients are found to have a family history, about 20% of them are found to have an underlying disease. Diseases like hypothyroidism, Anemia, and Diabetes are known to trigger white patches. For many, the diagnosis of white patches spells doom and even those with just 1-2 patches tend to imagine the worse. However, you need to relax as most cases are amenable to treatment and respond well to re-pigmentation therapies. Certain Nutrients and phytochemicals like tyrosine, amino acids, vitamin b12 etc are good for re-pigmentation. Iron rich foods like Lotus stem, sesame and pumpkin seeds are found to have a beneficial effect and form a very good adjunct to medical treatment.
There are no blood tests to diagnose vitiligo. A medical history and a skin analysis can clinch the diagnosis. When in doubt a skin biopsy may be advised. But in most cases the appearance of vitiligo is classical, and a clinical diagnosis arrived at by a trained eye is usually sufficient.
Although a complete cure for vitiligo is yet to be found, stable and limited cases can be treated quite successfully. In cases of extensive vitiligo, the treatment approach is generally focused upon re-pigmenting the exposed areas so that the patient can resume social activities comfortably. As vitiligo can be multi factorial in its causation, a multi-therapy approach focusing on the internal, external as well as nutritional aspects of the disease may be required.
The aim of the treatment is to restore skin colour in the white patches. The duration may depend on the extent of the spread and other associated conditions like diabetes, thyroid abnormalities, iron deficiency anaemia, vitamin deficiencies, mental stress, exposure to chemicals or hormonal disorders.
It spreads rather quickly from 6 months up to a year, after that it sometimes abruptly stops.
Vitiligo is triggered by multiple factors such as stress, sunburn, chemical exposure and so forth. It can also be due to genetics and autoimmune factors as well.
Vitiligo cannot be cured, the objective of skin treatments for vitiligo is to create a uniform skin tone.
Vitiligo can affect the hair. If you have vitiligo on a part of the body that has hair, then the hair can be affected as well.
It so happens that sometimes vitiligo does return even after the treatment.