What are white spots on skin
Vitiligo, sometimes called leukoderma, is a skin disorder affecting about 65 to 100 million people worldwide and about 1 to 2% of the US population. It is characterized by the appearance of white patches on different parts of the body, and these patches gradually grow in size. The first areas of the body to be affected tend to be the arms, legs and face. Other common areas for the appearance of these white patches on skin are the armpits, navel and genital regions. In addition, persons with vitiligo may also lose pigmentation in their hair and eyes.
These white patches occur because the pigment-producing cells, called melanocytes, are destroyed or stop functioning. What exactly causes this to happen is still debated; however, most doctors believe that it is a result of an autoimmune reaction. What happens is that the body’s defense system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells, resulting in their destruction. Some researchers also hypothesize that severe sunburn and emotional stress can trigger vitiligo. Genetics also play a role in the development of this condition.
Vitiligo affects all races and both genders equally, but you are more likely to suffer from this condition if a parent has it. You may also have a predisposition to it if autoimmune diseases run in your family (e.g. hypothyroidism, type 1 diabetes and adrenocortical insufficiency), and if you exhibited gray hair before the age of 35. Although vitiligo has been known to occur at all ages, most people with vitiligo will develop the condition between the ages of 10 and 40.
Vitiligo can cause a great deal of emotional stress and can lead to poor self-image and low self-esteem. However, it is not harmful to one’s overall health and is not contagious in any way. Doctors will diagnose the white spots through physical examination, Wood’s Lamp Examination, and sometimes, by taking a blood test and biopsy to rule out other conditions.
There are a number of treatment options for vitiligo. The first line of therapy tends to be a steroid or immunomodulator course – either as oral drugs or creams. However, these take a long time to result in any improvement and are associated with side effects such as a weakened immune system. A more effective option is the use of UV light in combination with psoralen drugs or creams. However, this is a very time-consuming therapy, and can lead to eye damage and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Persons with very small patches of affected skin may get surgical tattoos, which is basically the injection of a dye into the skin. This dye is chosen to be as close in color to the skin’s natural color as possible, but a perfect match is impossible. In addition, although natural skin will change color according to sunlight exposure, tattooed skin will not. There might be a vitiligo condition without even knowing it.
Another form of surgical treatment is skin grafting, which involves taking some healthy skin from one body part and attaching it instead of affected skin on another body part. There is the risk that the transplanted skin will be rejected. This operation may also result in cobblestoned skin, which is not very pleasing.
Vitiligo can be also cured naturally, using a combination of natural extracts, vitamins, and lifestyle changes. Several published research papers have documented a complete cure from vitiligo in as quickly as three weeks using this method. To learn more on how you can cure yourself of vitiligo without any medications or surgical interventions, read the rest of the articles on this web site, where besides explaining what is vitiligo, we show you natural solutions to treating these white spots on skin.