Vitiligo is a condition in which your skin loses melanin, the pigment that determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or no longer form melanin, causing slowly enlarging white patches of irregular shapes to appear on your skin.
Vitiligo affects all races, but may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. Vitiligo usually starts as small areas of pigment loss that spread with time.
Vitiligo occurs when melanin-forming cells (melanocytes) fail to produce melanin - the dark pigment in the epidermis that gives your skin its normal color. The involved patch of skin then becomes white. It isn't known why this occurs.
Doctors and scientists have theories as to what causes vitiligo. It may be due to an immune system disorder. Heredity may be a factor because there's an increased incidence of vitiligo in some families. Some people have reported a single event, such as sunburn or emotional distress that triggered the condition. Sometimes pigment loss can occur in someone who's had a melanoma, a malignancy of the cells that produce melanin (melanocytes). However, none of these theories has been proved as a definite cause of vitiligo.
The main sign of vitiligo is:
- Pigment loss that produces milky-white patches (depigmentation) on your skin
Other less common signs may include:
- Premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard
- Loss of color in the tissues that line the inside of your mouth (mucous membranes)
- Loss of or change in color of the inner layer of your eye (retina)
Although any part of your body may be affected by vitiligo, depigmentation usually develops first on sun-exposed areas of your skin, such as your hands, feet, arms, face and lips. Genitals also may be affected. Although it can start at any age, vitiligo often first appears between the ages of 10 and 30. Vitiligo generally appears in one of three patterns:
- Generalized. In this most common subtype, pigment loss is widespread across many parts of your body, often symmetrically.
- Segmental. Loss of skin color occurs on only one side of your body. This type tends to occur at a younger age, progress for a year or two, and then stop.
- Focal. Depigmentation is limited to one or a few areas of your body.
Homeopathy offers proven treatment for the cases of vitiligo, which do not have extensive spread. Early and milder cases may be treated with excellent success; moderate and speeding cases can expect partial color formation with good control, which rapidly spreading cases may be controlled significantly. It may be noted that good control over the spread is also considered a success in extensive cases.
Homeopathic treatment works in the following manner:
- Controlling the spread of Vitiligo by attempting to correct the immune system
- Enhancing the natural melanocyte formation (melanogenesis)
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