Beautiful inside is Beauty reflected outside….. We all have come across this phrase many times, and it is true that beauty lies within, but sadly this is not accepted so easily in the society even today. Any imperfections in a person’s physical appearance are always critically judged and it results in the individual becoming a recluse, causing him/her to lose self- confidence.
Leucoderma or white patches on skin is one such condition which is looked down upon due to the imperfections it causes. Let us discuss some facts about this condition and how we can overcome them.
Leucoderma, Vitiligo or white skin, is the name given to a skin disease, wherein there is a gradual loss of the pigment, Melanin, from the skin layers, resulting in the appearance of white patches. It is rightly called a Disorder and not a disease since it is not associated with any symptoms of pain, fever etc. A pigment called melanin imparts the skin (as well as hair) the native color. This pigment is produced in cells called ‘melanocytes’. When the melanocytes die or are unable to function, it results in loss of melanin causing color-less, irregular, pale white patches on the skin. Contrary to the popular belief, this disorder is neither infectious nor contagious and is not caused due to any germs or bad blood. It starts with a small spot which later enlarges into a large white patch. It is initially pale in color but gradually turns white with time due to complete loss of melanin pigmentation over affected areas.
Causes of Leucoderma
- The underlying mechanism which causes Leucoderma is loss of melanin. This occurs due to destruction of existing melanocytes and defective formation of new melanocytes. A genetic prone individual often develops this after injury or scarring to the skin tissue.
- A combination of auto-immune, genetic, and environmental factors has been seen in most cases.
- Recent studies have demonstrated that Leucoderma is also caused by stress which affects the immune system, leading the body to react and mistakenly destroy the melanocytes by releasing antibodies against them.
- Heredity has been strongly proposed as a cause since many cases with Vitiligo do report incidence of this condition (or other auto-immune disorders) in their family. Possible things that can trigger Vitiligo or Leucoderma in an individual who is genetically prone includes:
- Skin trauma
- Mental worry or stress
- Physical illness
- Excessive thinking
- Chronic gastric problems
- Improper liver functions
- Worms/parasites in the digestive system
- Burns and injuries
- Impaired hepatic function
- o Pressure from tight clothes
- Defective perspiratory mechanism
- Certain occupational hazards
Types and Symptoms of Leucoderma
The patches of Vitiligo can affect any part of the body though sun-exposed regions, body folds (e.g. groins, armpits), areas around body orifices or sites of previous injury are commonly affected. Following are some of the common patterns of body affection seen in Vitiligo patients:
- Segmental : The distribution of the patches is usually asymmetrical affecting one side of body
- Symmetrical : Bilaterally symmetrical patches over the body
- Generalized : Widespread patches spread all over the body
- Over Bony Prominences : The skin near the joints is affected by the patches
- Lip-tip Vitiligo : Vitiligo that is limited to the lips, tips of the fingers and toes, fingertips
- Genital Vitiligo : The private parts of the body are affected
- Focal : The patches are limited to particular areas of the body
- A sudden onset is seen in most cases where the patient notices a single, few or many milky white patches of irregular shapes and sizes on the skin.
- Small areas of de-pigmentation gradually start spreading to involve larger areas of the body. The patches appear more prominent in dark-skinned people and are quite disfiguring at times.
- As far as the progress of the condition is concerned, it is highly unpredictable. Some cases experience an extremely fast advancement with quick involvement of large areas of the body whereas in some cases there are a few small patches that don’t change much with time.
- The active phase of development of new patches is be followed by a phase where there are no new patches. The affected areas retain the normal sensitivity to touch and pain; however sun-sensitivity is seen to be increased in many cases.
- The hair over the affected parts such as skin, scalp, beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, etc. also loses color.
- Over a period of time, some of the Vitiligo patches re-pigment by themselves.
- Embarrassment, depression and anxiety are quite often associated with the above conditions.
Homeopathic treatment of Leucoderma
- Homeopathic treatment extends beyond the physical symptoms and the approach is more holistic in nature. We take care of the patient as a whole and also address underlying stress and depression that is often associated with the condition.
- Prognosis and duration of the Homeopathic treatment depends quite an extent on certain factors like the location, duration, general health, any other diseases associated with it, extent of spread and the disease activity.
- Complete case taking and analysis of patient is done and medicine is prescribed to correct the deeply situated miasms so that complete cure is achieved.
- Arsenic S flav and Selenium are examples of specifically indicated medicines, but complete cure is attained with the expertise and guidance of a homeopath who can give treatment by deciding on proper dosage and powers of the medicine.
Self-care guidelines for prevention of Leucoderma
- Proper diet with adequate vitamins.
- Taking care of skin with healthy habits.
- Avoid excess intake of sour things.
- Avoid using synthetic clothes.
- Do not indulge in too much of junk or fast food.