Vitiligo Home Remedies
There are remedies you can use at home to treat your vitiligo patches and arrest its spread especially early on and before visiting your dermatologist. Read on to find out the best home remedies for treating vitiligo.
Vtiligo is a skin pigmentation disorder that results when the melanocytes are destroyed.
It affects about 1% of the population and affects both sexes and all races equally. Because vitiligo changes the appearance of the skin, it may cause emotional distress in the sufferer. Besides changing the skin color to white, vitiligo has no other symptoms. It is not infectious or caused by infectious agents.
In fact, all aspects of the skin except the color remain the same in both vitiligo and normal, pigmented skin.
The first wave of vitiligo usually affects the face, hands and wrists. These white spots may also concentrate around the various orifices of the body including the eyes, nostrils, lips, navel, areolar and genitals.
There is no way to know whether vitiligo spots will remain localized or spread to other parts of the body. However, early treatment can help arrest the progression of the disease.
Before visiting your dermatologist’s office for consultation and treatment, there are a number of ways you may use to treat mild, localized or slowly spreading vitiligo. These ways may include changes in lifestyle and diets, nutritional supplements, herbal extracts and even OTC (over-the-counter) vitiligo products.
Quite a number of vitiligo patients succeed in treating their condition with home remedies.
However, to choose the most appropriate home remedies to use, you need to know the causes of vitiligo.
There are different theories regarding the cause of vitiligo although everyone agrees that root cause is the progressive destruction of melanocytes (melanocytes are special skin cells that produce melanin, the skin pigment).
The main theories are discussed below.
It is possible that the body sees melanocytes as foreign bodies and in a bid to get rid of them, it sends cells of the immune system to destroy them.
There are evidences that this is indeed the case at least for some vitiligo patients. For example, vitiligo sometimes occurs in the company of other autoimmune disorders such as diabetes mellitus and alopecia areata (balding).
In addition, melanocyte-specific antibodies and high levels of freely circulating CD8+ T cells have been reported in vitiligo patients.
When these immune cells attack melanocytes, they break them down and then the production of melanin falls. Such autoimmune attack can cause the rapid depigmentation of the skin and a brisk spread of vitiligo spots all over the body.
It is also possible that some melanocytes are defective. Such intrinsic defects may reduce the lifespan of such melanocytes or cause reduced melanogenesis (the production of melanin).
Therefore, defective melanocytes may be duds or be inefficient in fulfilling their chief role of producing melanin. Such intrinsic defect may be structural or functional. Both defects can be traced back to genetic mutations or error in the production of cellular parts of the melanocytes.
Harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide are released in the skin from cellular metabolism. These compounds may damage the skin and, they are normally removed by antioxidants.
However, when they persists in the skin, they place increasing oxidative stress on skin cells.
Reactive oxygen species can break down melanocytes and reduce their population. When vitiligo is caused by oxidative stress in the skin, the presence of oxidized compounds can be detected by special florescent lamps and low levels of antioxidant skin enzymes such as catalase.
A related cause of vitiligo is toxic chemicals. Phenolic compounds found in household and industrial solvents have been implicated as a causative agent of vitiligo.
These are oxidizing agents that can bleach the skin. Prolong exposure may actually reduce melanocyte population in the areas of the skin in direct contact with such chemicals.
Vitiligo can sometimes occur soon after nerve damage and in the same area where the damage occurs.
The changes in the neurochemicals released at the nerve endings of the damaged neurons are believed to be the cause of vitiligo. The neurochemicals produced may destroy the melanocytes found around the site of damage and cause localized vitiligo spots.
Genes play big roles in every aspect of living systems. Therefore, genes can be responsible for some of the factors discussed above.
Genetic mutations may produce defective melanocytes, make melanocytes more susceptible to autoimmune attack or oxidative stress.
Certain mutations may increase or reduce the risk of developing vitiligo. For example, alleles of theApa-I gene are known to determine the extent of individual predisposition to vitiligo.
Generally, natural remedies with antioxidant and/or immunomodulatory properties are used for treating vitiligo. These address the oxidative stress and autoimmune causes of vitiligo.
Cosmetic concealers and sunscreen products are not remedies for vitiligo. They do not treat the skin disorder. Rather, they hide vitiligo spots by smoothing out the contrast between the white spots and normal, pigmented skin surrounding them.
Concealers are only useful if vitiligo spots are small and few and preferably localized.
Makeup products can help camouflage vitiligo patches. Also cover creams and self-tanning lotions are used. The tricky part of camouflaging vitiligo spots is finding the product that imparts the right color and matches perfectly with your normal skin color.
You may make your own camouflage lotion at home especially if you cannot find a product with matching colors. All you need are rubbing alcohol and food colorants. By experimenting with ratio, you can find the perfect blend to camouflage your vitiligo spots.
Sunscreens or sunblocks, on the other hand, do not conceal vitiligo patches. Rather, they stop the growing contrast between the white vitiligo patches and normal, pigmented skin.
Sunscreens achieve this by preventing the tanning of normal, pigmented skin and sunburn in exposed vitiligo patches.
Some experts consider vitiligo as the outward expression of nutritional deficiencies.
True to this theory, different studies have found that vitiligo patients have lower levels of certain vitamins and minerals when compared to people without vitiligo.
Different studies have found that vitiligo patients are usually deficient in the B vitamins including vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. Usually low levels of these vitamins are also associated with abnormally high levels of a compound called homocysteine.
Homocysteine produces a long list of harmful effects in the body but it especially can yield harmful free radicals in metabolic reactions.
Therefore, supplementation with vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid can help stop vitiligo by reducing oxidative stress on the skin.
Other vitamins that are helpful in vitiligo treatment include the antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins A and C.
Vitamin D has also been proven to have anti-vitiligo effect through a number of properties. In fact, vitamin D analogs are some of the most effective topical vitiligo products prescribed.
Mineral deficiencies play a smaller role in the progression of vitiligo but copper has been suggested to be effective in the treatment of vitiligo.
Alpha lipoic acid is also another antioxidant supplement that has been shown in multiple studies to be quite effective in the treatment of vitiligo.
Ginkgo biloba is perhaps the most studied herb used in the treatment of vitiligo.
The leaf extract which contains antioxidant and immunomodulatory phytochemicals has been shown to improve vitiligo symptoms both when used alone and when used with other vitiligo treatments.
Khella or Amni visnaga is also used in the treatment of vitiligo. In fact, the ancient Egyptians recorded its use for this purpose. The flower extract of khella contains khellin, a potent diuretic but it is the psoralen content that is the most useful in vitiligo treatment.
This phytochemical is the same psoralen used in PUVA vitiligo therapy in combination with ultraviolet A radiation.
This closely follows the use of psoralen-containing plants such as Khella in traditional medicine. After taking the extracts, patients are usually advised to get some sunlight exposure.
Psoralen is a coumarin. It is a photosensitizing compound which helps darken the skin after exposure to ultraviolet irradiation.
Some other plants containing psoralen are also used in the treatment of vitiligo. These include, parsnip, celery, carrot and fennel.
Other herbal extracts used in the treatment of vitiligo include ginger juice, black cumin, turmeric, sesame seed, duckweed, coconut oil and papaya.
In addition to the vitamins and herbal supplements mentioned above, the following home remedies for vitiligo have been shown to be effective in many individuals with vitiligo. These remedies can be taken in conjunction with prescription treatments to speed healing. However, if you are taking additional internal treatments for vitiligo, make sure to inform your doctor in case there may be any side effects with other medications or treatments you are trying.
Duckweed is a water plant found in ponds and lakes throughout the world. The weed is rich in lignans, which is credited with adding color to the skin when taken internally. Grind a teaspoon of powdered duckweeg along with a teaspoon of honey. Add this honey paste to water and drink one cup per day.
Researchers are not sure why, but adding more copper to the diet has been found to slow the progression of vitiligo. One easy way to do this is to drink water that has been stored in a copper container (unlined). Place the water you plan to drink in a copper container in the morning and drink from it all day long to maximize your copper intake. Make sure you also take a zinc supplement when you drink copper water.
Psoralen Powder And Ginger
Psoralen is a known remedy for vitiligo, and in fact, extracts of psoralen are used in prescription treatments for vitiligo. However, psoralen is also found in celery, parsley, anise, and many other natural foods. You can purchase psoralen powder at health food stores.
Mix 1/2 a teaspoon of psoralen powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of dried ginger. Mix the powders in a glass of warm milk. Drink one glass of the mixture daily while treating vitiligo.
Margosa is a plant that has leaves that are credited with the ability to repigment white patches on the skin. Grind margosa leaves into a paste and extract the juice from the leaves. Mix two teaspoons of margosa juice with a teaspoon of honey. Drink this mixture three times a day while treating vitiligo.
Eat extract of goosefoot twice daily, once in the morning and once at night until vitiligo progress halts.
Neem has been credited with helping white patches on skin to regain pigmentation. You can apply neem juice directly to the ski or drink a glass of neem juice daily to restore pigment to the skin.
Grind pomegranate leaves into a powder. Add a teaspoon of the powder to a glass of water. Drink one glass daily until the white patches are gone.
Boil Indian lilac leaves in hot water and allow the leaves to steep until the water cools. Drink one cup of this leaf juice mixture while taking prescription treatments for vitiligo.
Topical treatments have been shown to be effective in slowing the progression of vitiligo and covering existing white patches. As individuals with vitiligo typically have sensitive skin, test these topical remedies on a small patch of skin before slathering on everywhere. This will prevent painful rashes and reactions that may be caused by some of these remedies.
Place damp goosefoot leaves over white patches on the skin. Leave for one hour. Repeat this treatment several times a week until the skin is darkened.
Turmeric And Mustard Oil
Tumeric and mustard oil together have been shown to be an effective topical treatment for vitiligo.
Mix five teaspoons of turmeric powder with enough mustard oil to make a paste. Apply the paste to white patches on the skin. Let the mixture sit on the skin for 20 minutes before washing. Repeat this treatment once daily for 20 days to make vitiligo less noticeable.
Radish seeds are credited with the ability to fade white spots and regenerate melanin. Crush radish seeds into a powder and mix with enough vinegar to make a paste. Apply the paste to white patches on the skin and leave it there for 15 minutes. Repeat this treatment every day for six months to encourage healthy, darker skin to grow in affected areas.
Mama Cadela Roots
Mama cadela roots are effective at reducing the apperance of vitiligo patches on tehskin. Soak mama cadela roots for 10 minutes. Once the liquid cools, use a cotton ball to dab the juice onto the skin. Repeat once daily to reduce skin whiteness.
Basil Leaves and Lemon
Basil is antiviral and filled with antioxidants, which makes it an ideal topical treatment for white skin patches. Squeeze the juice from five lemons. Add a teaspoon of basil oil to the lemon juice and mix well. Use a cotton bal to dab affected areas with the mixture. Leave the mixture on the skin for 15 minutes before rinsing. You can safely use this skin treatment in combination with any other vitiligo treatment.
Red Clay And Ginger
Purchase powdered red clay. Crush fresh ginger with a garlic press and add it to the red clay mixture along with a little water until it forms a paste. Apply the paste to white patches on the skin. Repeat this treatment once a week for six months.
Grind walnuts in a food processor to make a powder. Add a bit of water to make a thick paste. Rub the walnut paste into white patches three times a day while treating vitiligo. Leave the paste in place for 15 minutes before washing the skin. In two months, white patches should be darkened.
Babchi and Tamarind
Mix equal amounts babchi powder and tamarind powder with a little water to make a paste. Apply this paste once a day for a week. If the skin turns red, discontinue use. Some individuals are sensitive to babchi powder, which may cause redness and itching.
Khellin has beneficial skin properties that have been shown in studies to be almost as effective as PUVA therapy in the repigmentation of teh skin. Applying khellin extract in paste form to the skin has been found to be as effective as psoralen treatments combined with PUVA therapy.
Figs contain a natural form of psoralen, which makes them ideal in reversing vitiligo. In addition to eating figs regularly, apply a paste of figs to any white patches. Leave the paste in place for 20 minutes before rinsing. Repeat the direct application of figs every other day until vitiligo patches shrink or fade (which can take several months to a year).
Mix crushed leadwort root and water until a paste is formed. Apply leadwort to the affected areas. Leave the paste in place for 30 minutes before washing off. Repeat this treatment once a week until vitiligo patches fade.
While there are different formulas for combining some of these natural remedies at home, you may decide to take an OTC vitiligo supplement formulated with proven natural vitiligo remedies.
A good example of such is callumae.
Callumae contains the vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid; the amino acid, L-phenylalanine (a precursor for tyrosine which is then used to produce melanin); alpha lipoic acid; and herbal extracts of Ginkgo biloba, Amni visnaga and Picrorhiza kurroa. Few complete herbal blends exist for the treatment of vitiligo, which makes Callumae one of the most unique products on the market for treating vitiligo.
Vitiligo causes pigmentation to leave the skin in patches, but you don't have to let the condition pass without taking action. Vitiligo is treatable using a variety of home remedies. These remedies, both topical and internal, work best in conjunction with clinical treatments for vitiligo. The effectiveness of prescription and clinical vitiligo treatments varies, but it has been found that treatments are most effective when a combination of vitiligo home remedies and prescription treatments are used together. With a multi-faced approach, you can slow or halt the progression of your vitiligo.
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Callumae is a Vitiligo Remedy designed to help get rid of white spots on your skin. Use in conjuction with light therapy (or natural sun light) to help get the most repigmentation to your skin.