What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin-related condition causing the loss of color in patches. Over time, the discolored area may grow bigger and bigger on any of the body portions, including your hair and inside of the mouth as well.
Vitiligo is a photosensitive condition, which means that the discolored portion is sensitive to sunlight.
Normally, it is melanin that defines your hair and skin color. But when you have vitiligo, it means the cells that secrete melanin are not functioning well. Though it can be seen in people of all skin types, most often, it affects those with a darker skin shade.
Vitiligo does not come with serious or life-threatening complications; it may still be contagious, affecting your self-esteem or making you feel bad about yourself.
Globally, around 2% of people get affected with vitiligo every year.
The signs and symptoms of vitiligo usually appear before a person turns 30.
- The most common sign is skin losing its color on the hands, face, and areas around the genitals are also affected.
- Premature greying of the skin and hair on scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or beard.
- The tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose or muocus membranes alos lose their color or texture.
Based on the type of vitiligo, it may occur:
- On nearly all skin. The pacthes of discolored skin may occur on almost all body, and so named universal vitiligo.
- Multiple parts of the body. Often named as generalized vitiligo, the discolored portion can develop symmetrically, or in corresponding body parts.
- A few areas of the body. This form of vitiligo may appear in just one or a couple of spots on the body.
- Only one side of the body. Also known as segmental vitiligo, it is the discoloration of skin on only on side of the body that tends to progress for one or two years and eventually stops.
- The face and hands. The skin on the face, hands, and around the eyes, ears, and nose are affected in the first place.
In a rare case, vitiligo may go on its own without addressing any treatment approach. But most often, treatment is needed. It is difficult to know how vitiligo will progress.
It is the melanin in the body that results in the color of the skin. When the cells that produce melanin either die or do not function well, the skin tends to lose its color. The area then ultimately becomes white or light colored.
However, the cause linked to the death of those cells is not fully understood. Perhaps, it is linked to:
- An immune system disorder
- A family history of vitiligo
- Exposure to chemicals
- Severe sunburn
- Skin trauma
Ayurvedic treatment for vitiligo
Ayurvedic texts called vitiligo as Shwetakushta or Switra or Kailasa as it comes into the patronage of Kushta rogas (skin diseases). The three main doshas held responsible for the occurrence of vitiligo are Vata, Pitta, and Kapga resulting in imbalancing of vitiation of Rakta, Mamsa, and Medhas Dhatus.
There are three types of vitiligo in Ayurvedic context:
- Daruna – When the imbalance in doshas aggravate Rakta Dhatus, the patches grow red in color.
- Aruna – The aggravation of Mamsa Dhatus or muscle tissues result in copper color patches on the skin.
- Kilasa – In case of vitiation of Medho Dharus or fat tissues, white colored patches can be seen on the body.
Ayurvedic treatment focuses on herbal medicatons to pacify the imbalance of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and to purge toxins out. As you apply Leypam made from sacred herbs, the patches tend to go away on their own over time. Oral medicines are also administered to the patients along with procedures and therapies such as Panchakarma to help you get most out of treatment.
At AyuKarma, our treatment approach is highly simple and effective in the treatment of vitiligo or Shwetakushta. Early medical intervention may help you get maximum results, but it is very hard to predict in advance about the loss of color.