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Vitiligo

General characteristics

General characteristics

Vitiligo is a condition affecting the skin and mucous membranes (inside of mouth etc) that results in patches of pigmentation loss. It occurs in response to complete absence of the pigment producing cells in the skin, the melanocytes. The pigment loss shows as whitish patches on the skin surface and can affect any area of the skin. Affected areas may remain the same size, may grow larger and may appear on other areas of the skin also. Vitiligo is not the same condition as Albinism , a condition that involves a complete lack of colour over the entire body, including hair and eyes.

 

Causes are unknown but thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism and so called autoimmune disorders are thought to be associated with its appearance. High levels of hydrogen peroxide are found in the skin of people with vitiligo and many other complex chemical reactions seem to happen in a chain reaction, including an assault by the body's own immune cells, which ultimately leads to the destruction of the pigment producing cells. Vitiligo is non-infectious and cannot be passed to others. A sensitivity to gluten has also been suggested as a possible cause for vitiligo. A copper deficiency has also been put forward, as has stress and other illnesses.

 

The areas of de-pigmented skin are less sensitive than normal pigmented skin to things such as sunlight, some chemical irritants, touch sensations and other nervous stimuli and is even resistant to developing skin cancers such as melanomas and other aggressive skin carcinomas. The areas that lose pigment often follow the path of nerves and which suggests de-pigmentation has some form of involvement with sensory nerves.

 

Vitiligo is quite difficult to treat but re-pigmentation is possible and begins in the areas around hair follicles. For these reason, hairless parts of the body (palms of the hand and soles of the feet) are the hardest to re-pigment. It can take a long time to fully re-pigment all affected areas, so don't give up after a few weeks or even months.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Avoid processed and refined foods.

 

Eat a diet rich in antioxidant plant foods such as vegetables, fruits and berry fruits, seeds and nuts.

 

Try drinking a cup of fresh organic carrot juice daily for several months.

 

Eating fresh figs, celery sticks and walnuts may also help.

 

Foods rich in vitamin B12  such as sardines and wild salmon may also help.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Ginkgo helps to slow and deter the spread of de-pigmentation and can also help to increase pigment areas. Take 1 cup of tea or 1 teaspoons of tincture, three times daily.

 

Neem leaves are also useful in the treatment of vitiligo. Take as a powder in capsule form as it is quite unpleasant to taste.

 

Other herbs with a reputation for helping vitiligo include barberry, black cumin seeds (Nigella sativa), st johns wort and turmeric powder.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Try wearing an inexpensive copper bangle or bracelet, some people have had positive results in a few months.

 

Coconut oil has worked for some people. Use raw unprocessed varieties and rub on the skin several times daily.

 

Some people have achieved steady re-pigmentation by rubbing fresh ginger juice over the affected areas. Presumably this is down to gingers effects on the peripheral circulation.


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