“YOUR SKIN IS A GREAT INDICATOR OF WHAT’S GOING INSIDE YOUR BODY”
Vitiligo according to modern doctors is loss of skin color in a patch, where in gradual time, these patches grow bigger. Vitiligo occurs when the cell producing melanin (responsible for color of skin) dies or stops functioning. This can be seen from old to child, rich to poor irrespective of sex, religion, status, and age. In India there are a lot of social stigmas attached to it because of cosmetic reasons which brings about a lot of psychological stress on the patient.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The only sign of vitiligo is the presence of pale patchy areas of depigmented skin which tend to occur on the extremities. Some people may experience itching before a new patch occurs. The patches are initially small, but often grow and change shape. When skin lesions occur, they are most prominent on the face, hands, and wrists. The loss of skin pigmentation is particularly noticeable around body orifices, such as the mouth, eyes, nostrils, genitalia, and umbilicus. Some lesions have increased skin pigment around the edges. Those affected by vitiligo who are stigmatized for their condition may experience depression and similar mood disorders.
What according to ayurveda can cause vitiligo?
According to ayurveda hypopigmentation can be understood in basic two ways
- One that can be caused by doshas – According to Ayurveda, certain diets and lifestyles can cause the aggravation of doshas and result in the formation of various diseases. They include:
- Viruddhannapana, drava, snigdha (unctuous), guru (heavy), vamana.
- Avoiding the natural urges
- Ajeerna bhojana, atibhojana
- Taking newly harvested grains, dahi, fish, ati lavana, amla padartha, black lentils, radish, grained food, tila, milk and milk product, diwasapna
- Insulting elderly and brahmana
- Doing “Papkarma” etc.
- Vranajanya –
Hypopigmentation can also occur due to injury or burn.
- According to Vagbhatt shwitra can also occur because of faulty diet of mother and can be transmitted genetically.
These are the few causes that can result in hypopigmenation.
Vitiligo can also be associated with few more autoimmune and inflammatory diseases:-
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis,
- Rheumatoid arthritis,
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus,
- Addison’s disease,
- Pernicious anemia,
- Alopecia areata
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Celiac disease
What are different types of vitiligo patches?
- Non-segmental vitiligo (NSV): There is usually some form of symmetry in the location of the patches of depigmentation. New patches also appear over time and can be generalized over large portions of the body or localized to a particular area. Extreme cases of vitiligo, to the extent that little pigmented skin remains, are referred to as vitiligo universalis. NSV can come about at any age.
- Generalized Vitiligo: the most common pattern, wide and randomly distributed areas of depigmentation.
- Universal Vitiligo: depigmentation encompasses most of the body.
- Focal Vitiligo: one or a few scattered macules in one area, most common in children.
- Acrofacial Vitiligo: fingers and periorificial areas.
- Mucosal Vitiligo: depigmentation of only the mucous membranes.
Segmental Vitiligo (SV): differs in appearance, cause, and frequency of associated illnesses. Its treatment is different from that of NSV. It tends to affect areas of skin that are associated with dorsal roots from the spinal cord and is most often unilateral. It is much more stable/static in course and its association with autoimmune diseases appears to be weaker than that of generalized vitiligo. SV does not improve with topical therapies or UV light, however surgical treatments such as cellular grafting can be effective.
What do ayurveda do in this condition??
Change in diet and lifestyle along with panchkarma and oral medication are the key to recovery.
According to Ayurveda, treatment includes panchakarma (snehapana, vamana, virechana) depending on the severity and the cause of the disease.
External application along with few internal medications can stop the spreading of the disease and if started at the right time can also reverse the pigmentation to a great extent.
What can a patient do if he is suffering from vitiligo / shwitram or any skin disease?
- Diet & lifestyle changes: –
- Avoid sour, salty food
- Avoid curd, milk, and milk products
- Avoid Guda, urda (black lentils), tila (sesame), all-purpose flour etc.
- Ideal food for skin disease can be rice, jav (barley), wheat , moong (green grams), masoor (orange lentil), tuvar dal (pigeon peas) etc.
- Vegetables like pointed gourd, bottle gourd and other green and leafy vegetables should be taken frequently
- Sour fruits like orange, sweet lemon, kiwi should be avoided
- Badam (Almond) is very good in vitiligo.
- Sunlight exposure plays an amazing role in treatment of hypopigmentation hence patients should be exposed to sun in morning.
- Copper rich water also shows good results in this disease as copper helps in production of melanin in the body and reduces patches.
- Patients are also advised to keep their dinner light or skip it only two meals a day.
- Avoid keeping your skin dry and moisturize by abhyangam daily morning with prescribed oil according to your prakriti and skin type.
- Using rakta khadir for bathing helps in all the skin diseases.
If any patient is suffering from any of these symptoms it’s suggested to go to your physician and get your medicine prescribed and undergo diet and lifestyle changes according to your condition.