The term Vitiligo is derived from the Latin word “vitelius” meaning “calf”. It was first used by Roman physician Celsus in the second century AD. The characteristic white patches of the disease resemble the white patches of a spotted calf. Vitiligo is an ancient disease mentioned in religious texts such as the Bible and the Holy Koran. The disease is known as “Bai Dian Feng” in traditional Chinese medicine, “Shewetakusta” in Indian classic Atharva Veda and “Kilas” in Vinay Pitah, Buddist sacred book, “Bars” in Arabic and “Pulbheri” in Punjabi.
Also known as leukoderma, Vitiligo is a skin disease manifested by the progressive development of cutaneous depigmentation in the shape of patches or spots. However, the seriousness of this disease is little known. Vitiligo may occur at any age and it has a different evolution: in some people depigmentation may stop for years. Vitiligo is not a contagious disease and it cannot be transmitted by physical touch.
Vitiligo is caused by the action of certain factors in a specific context. This context is created by the simultaneous occurrence of hepatic and neuroendocrine disorders that cause wrong metabolic interpretations and changes of the hormonal secretions.
Because of the hepatic and neuroendocrine disorders, any emotional shock causes a cerebral vascular spasm. The cerebral area affected by the spasm innervates a specific area on the skin. This skin area will be affected by the diminishing of nerve endings vascularization and sensitivity. The local metabolism is greatly slowed down, which will generate a poor oxygenation as well as retaining of toxins in the affected surface.
At cellular level, the melanin receptors will be filled with its metabolic products and not with pigment as it normally happens. At this point, the vicious circle of the disease is triggered: the brain no longer receives the order to produce the necessary pigment, as the melanin receptors are already filled with metabolic products.
Generally, it has been noticed a higher frequency in the persons suffering from auto-immune diseases: hyper and hypothyroidism, adrenocortical insufficiency, alopecia areata, pernicious anemia (B12 vitamin deficiency).
Vitiligo also affects the mucous membranes: retina, oral and nasal cavities, genital and rectal areas. Areas of the body where depigmentation may appear: sun exposed areas: hands, legs, face and upper part of the chest; around the eyes, nostrils, mouth, nipples, navel and genital organs; axilla and inguinal area; around scars caused by cuts, scratches, burns; around moles; on the choroid – the membrane nourishing the eye globe; areas of the scalp, which leads to appearance of gray strands of hair or to premature graying.
Vitiligo can be treated by acupuncture and apiphytotherapy. The treatment consists of several stages which vary as duration, depending on the patient’s response to treatment. In the first place the liver functions and the balance of the neuroendocrine system must be restored. At the same time, the ischemic brain areas are reactivated; the connections between them and the depigmented skin patches are recovered by restoring the normal functions of the nerve endings.
The treatment options for Vitiligo have some similarities with psoriasis. Steroids can be used to stimulate the skin to produce the missing or deficient melanocytes and thus darkening the white skin patches. Steroids have many dangerous side effects and are typically only a temporary treatment. Stop using the steroids and the Vitiligo usually returns soon after.
UV phototherapy is widely recognized as a treatment of Vitiligo. UV is responsible for stimulating your skin to produce pigmentation, or a sun tan with minimal side effects. The effectiveness of UV treatment varies for each Vitiligo sufferer.
Moreover, in a double-blind study of 52 people with slowly spreading Vitiligo, supplementation with Ginkgo biloba extract (standardized to contain 24% ginkgoflavonglycosides), in the amount of 40 mg three times per day for up to six months, resulted in marked to complete repigmentation in 40% of cases, compared with only 9% among those receiving a placebo.
An extract from khella (Ammi visnaga) may be useful in repigmenting the skin of people with Vitiligo. Khellin, the active constituent, appears to work like psoralen drugs—it stimulates repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining melanocytes to sunlight. Studies have used 120–160 mg of khellin per day.
So remember that Vitiligo is NOT caused by a vitamin or diet deficiency, therefore vitamins can be no benefit at all. Vitamins can only benefit you if you have a deficiency. Neither Vitiligo, Acne, Dermatitis nor psoriasis are caused by any deficiency in your diet. Vitiligo is not caused by a toxin that can be removed from your system by a vitamin or other magic health pill. No oil or herb rubbed into your skin will have any lasting effect on Vitiligo.
Michael Jackson was diagnosed in 1986 with vitiligo and lupus; the vitiligo partially lightened his skin, and the lupus was in remission; both illnesses made him sensitive to sunlight. The treatments he used for his condition further lightened his skin tone, and, with the application of pancake makeup to even out blotches, he could appear very pale. The structure of his face changed too: several surgeons speculated that he had undergone multiple nasal surgeries, a forehead lift, thinned lips, and cheekbone surgery.