Vitiligo Treatment Options to Consider

Ginkgo Biloba leaves

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  • To improve the appearance of their skin, some patients settle on using cosmetic products to decrease the noticeability of their vitiligo
  • Aside from the cosmetic option, conventional medicine also offers numerous techniques that help in reintroducing pigment to the skin

The treatment for vitiligo incorporates varying approaches on dealing with the gradual depigmentation vitiligo causes. Most of these treatments focus on evening out the skin tone and minimizing the obvious effects of vitiligo on the appearance of patients. To improve the appearance of their skin, some patients settle on using cosmetic products to decrease the noticeability of their vitiligo.

Conventional Treatments for Vitiligo

Aside from the cosmetic option, conventional medicine also offers numerous techniques that help in reintroducing pigment to the skin. Some of the most common vitiligo treatments include the following:1

Light therapy. This procedure helps in evening out the skin tone by exposing the skin to UVB light, causing the skin to produce pigment.

This, however, does not stop the appearance of other white patches on the skin or stop the repigmented site from losing pigmentation again through time. Some possible side effects of this technique include hyperpigmentation in the surrounding areas, severe sunburn and blistering.

Another type of light therapy is psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA) treatment. This is done by applying psoralen, a pharmaceutical molecule derived from plant chemicals, onto the skin and exposing it to UVA light. While this has been acknowledged as one of the most effective treatments for vitiligo, patients have also been observed to have a heightened risk for developing cataracts and skin cancer in the long term.2

Depigmentation. This technique is usually prescribed to patients with universal and widespread vitiligo. The procedure entails the removal of any remaining melanocytes to even out the skin color of the vitiligo patient by the application of monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone to the remaining pigmented skin. But because of the removal of the remaining pigment, the patient will have a much higher sensitivity to sunlight and will need to take extra care for the rest of their lives.3

Surgery. This is often the last choice for vitiligo patients when other conventional treatments fail. This is done on people who have had stable vitiligo for a couple of years. Skin grafting or cellular grafting is the most common surgical technique. This is done by grafting healthy skin onto the white vitiligo patches to reintroduce melanocytes to the depigmented regions.4

It should be noted that these conventional treatments for vitiligo may lead to numerous side effects that may affect your lifestyle and skin health. Most of the treatments that contain chemicals eventually lead to skin atrophy, which is the gradual deterioration of the treated skin. Thus, you should consider natural remedies first to address the symptoms of this condition.

Natural and Holistic Treatments for Vitiligo

The safest way to treat vitiligo is to use natural and holistic techniques, which will ensure that you’re safe from contracting any serious long-term effects on your health. Some of these natural techniques include the use of the following herbs:5

Ginkgo biloba. It has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties. It also helps in decreasing oxidative stress, which is one of the factors that influence the development of vitiligo. Researchers have shown that the ingestion of this herb has helped patients slow down the spread of the vitiligo or even inhibit its progression.

Psoralea seeds. These seeds are one of the most utilized and well-known natural remedies for vitiligo because of their ability to mimic the sun's effect on the skin. This promotes the melanocytes to produce more melanin where it is applied. This is often used with tamarind seeds and is topically applied on vitiligo patches.

Basil leaves and lime juice. A topical solution made from these two ingredients has been noted to aid in the production of melanin. To make this concoction, mix basil leaf extract with lime juice and apply three times a day for about six months.

Amni visnaga. Khellin, a furanochromone derived from amni visnaga, has been observed to assist in the repigmentation of vitiligo patches with constant use. This component of the amni visnaga plant is comparable to psoralens, the chemical used in the PUVA phototherapy, but without the heightened risk for skin cancer after treatment.

Before using these natural remedies for vitiligo, it is best that you consult a health professional for the right dosage and proper application. It should also be noted that the use of these herbs show varying effectivity on each individual. For vitiligo patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is strongly advised that you consult a health practitioner about the safest vitiligo treatment methods you can opt for.

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