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Self Care Tips For Vitiligo Patients

Dr Vivekananda Bhat

Dr Vivekananda Bhat

  Lavelle road, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   5 min     

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Overview

Vitiligo is a medical condition that makes the loss of skin colour in patches. The discolouration of the skin usually gets more significant with time. The disease can harm the skin on any part of the body, including hair and inside of the mouth. 

Typically, the pigmentation of hair and skin is determined by melanin. The disease (vitiligo) arises when these melanin-producing cells die or discontinue functioning. Although vitiligo can affect people of all skin types, it may be more pronounced in people with darker skin. 

White patches on skin or Vitiligo can become a cause of worry for many patients as it seen as a social taboo to have a skin disorder. Apart from affecting personal image and beauty, dealing with a general misconception amongst people and peers that it could be a contagious disease also takes an emotional toll on patients. Although there is no cure for Vitiligo, many treatments help in concealing the white patches to give a normal appearance. 

Symptoms of Vitiligo

Vitiligo signs include:

  • Loss of skin colour in uneven shape, usually first appearing on the hands, face, and areas, then around the whole body openings and the genitals

  • Untimely whitening or greying of the hair of your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes or beard

  • Deterioration of colour in the tissues that panel the inside of your mouth and nose (or mucous membranes)

Vitiligo ailment can begin at any age but generally develops before the age of 30. Depending on what is the type of vitiligo that you have developed, it may affect:

  • Many parts of your body. This condition is the most common type of vitiligo, called generalised vitiligo. In this case, the discolouration of the skin patches often grows similarly on corresponding body parts.

  • Almost all skin areas. This type is called universal vitiligo in which the skin blemish affects nearly all of its surfaces.

  • Either one or some areas of your body. This type of vitiligo is called localised or focal vitiligo.

  • Either one side or one part of your body. This type of vitiligo is called segmental vitiligo which usually occurs at a younger age. It starts progressing for a year or two, but then eventually stops.

  • The hands and face. Called as acrofacial vitiligo, this type of vitiligo affects the skin on the hands and face. It also involves other body openings, such as the nose, eyes and ears.

It is tricky to anticipate how your condition will grow. Sometimes the spots stop growing without any treatment. But, in most cases, the colour loss increases and conclusively cover up the most of your skin. Hardly, the skin gets its colour back. 

Self Care Tips for Vitiligo

It is helpful for Vitiligo patients to have a coping strategy and exercise self-care tips to achieve a better life. These tips are easy and can be used every day along with the recommended treatment for white patches on the face by a skin expert.

  • Protection from the sun is essential for Vitiligo patients. As skin pigment plays a role in protecting us from the sun’s harmful rays, a skin pigmentation disorder can cause more considerable damage to exposed skin parts. It’s good practice to apply sunscreen, and cover body parts whenever venturing out in the sun between 10 am to 4 pm.

  • Gentle morning rays, on the other hand, can assist in stimulating pigment cells of the skin and bring advantage to patients.

  • Usage of mild soaps and gentle scrub while bathing can benefit. Sometimes forced rubbing can trigger the outbreak of new patches.

  • As Vitiligo is more of a common disease than physical, it’s essential to factor in the resulting mental stress. It tries methods like yoga, meditation, pursuing a hobby etc. to stay positive. Psychological stress may also trigger patches to occur on the skin.

  • Try to keep away from chemical-based products like deodorants or perfumes directly on the skin. Instead, applying it on clothes comes as a good alternative.

  • As some options of treatment for Vitiligo skin disorder such as oral medicine take a prolonged time to show effects, masking the patches and using cosmetic products helps in hiding visible spots on face and arms.

  • Scientific studies suggest that having a diet rich in copper can help Vitiligo patients. Vegetables like spinach, mustard greens and sesame are rich in copper. One can also strive to consume water stored in copper vessels.

  • Maintain a well-balanced diet. Consider a diet that is rich in Vitamin B12, folic acid, and pantothenic acid is good for skin and can benefit Vitiligo patients.

  • Many home remedies like applying a mixture of turmeric and mustard oil can help in restoring the skin colour or adding a skin-like colour tone to the white patches.

  • Other home remedies include Ginko Biloba, sweet basil leaves, psoralen seeds and walnuts etc. have been used by Vitiligo patients to help cure or contain the skin condition.

  • Concealing your affected skin with the self-tanning and makeup products can help in minimising the disparities in skin colour. You may require to test certain brands of such products to discover one that blends completely with your normal skin tone. The colour concealing with the self-tanning products doesn't wipe out, but it slowly disappears over several days. For using a self-tanner, pick one that will contain dihydroxyacetone, as it is authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration.

  • Tattoos can bring damage to your skin. If we talk about Vitiligo, it may cause a new patch of such disease to emerge within two weeks. 

Conclusion

Vitiligo patients should always take measures to protect their skin from sun exposure and skin trauma before, through and after their skin discolouration treatment.

For many patients, these tips become a way of life and help them confidently cope with Vitiligo. Effective treatment options like skin grafting and laser treatment can readily improve the quality of life for patients with visible white patches on face, mouth and lips. 

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Tags:  Vitiligo, skin care, White patches, Protection from Sun, Healthy Diet, Home remedies, Skin protection, Skin treatment

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