Vitiligo is a relatively uncommon skin disease, estimated to affect about one percent of the entire world popularity. The primary symptom of vitiligo is white patches of skin, which may grow to cover large parts of the body or even the entire body. This disease is most frustrating when it is on visible areas of skin, such as the face.
The symptoms of vitiligo are caused by non-functioning melanocytes, which are the cells in your skin responsible for producing melanin, the primary pigment in your skin. When the melanocytes are shut down and melanin production stops, your skin loses its pigmentation and turns white.
Doctors and researchers are not yet completely certain exactly what causes vitiligo. They do know that genetic factors play a role in a person’s susceptibility. They also believe that it is, or can be, an autoimmune disease, meaning that your body’s immune system attacks and damages your melanocytes, which then causes the vitiligo.
Since doctors are not certain of the cause, most treatment options involve treating the symptoms. There are several treatments that may be used to attempt to get your melanocytes to resume production of melanin.
One treatment involves grafting healthy skin (with functioning melanocytes) into the affected areas. Other methods involve using ultraviolet light to stimulate the patient’s melanocytes. One of the most promising treatment options uses a laser to stimulate the melanocytes. This method is showing excellent results with minimal side effects.
There are also natural approaches to treating vitiligo, most notably herbal and homeopathic approaches. Both herbal and homeopathic approaches involve attempting to address the root problems, usually relating to the immune system, digestive system, liver, kidneys, and also using topical products to target the skin itself.
The truth of the matter, however, is that there is no cure for vitiligo. Treatments are available to treat the symptoms, but there is no cure to address and remove the root problems.