By Dr. Saumyaranjan Pandey, Ayurveda
Vitiligo is a skin disorder that is characterized by the development of white patches on the skin. The disorder is chronic in nature; it occurs when the melanocytes (melanin production and distribution agent) which are present in the skin, die.
The area of the skin affected by this condition tends to vary from person to person. It may affect the insides of your mouth, hair, eyes and cause permanent discoloration.
1. Segmented Vitiligo: This type of vitiligo tends to spread fast but is stable than the other type. It is asymmetrical and affects such portions of the skin which are linked to nerves that originate in the dorsal roots along the spinal cord.
2. Non- Segmental Vitiligo: This type of vitiligo occurs in equal proportions on both sides of the body. This disorder affects the areas of the skin that are exposed to sun frequently, such as the arms, neck and the face.
There is no known cause of vitiligo; however, the likely causes are found to be trauma from a stressful event, chemical exposure and genetics. It may also result from complications in the immune system.
1. The primary symptom of vitiligo is the appearance of white patches on the skin.
2. The initial patches which occur on the skin are slightly pale in color; which becomes even paler in due course of time and eventually turn white, thus making them look distinct and prominent on the skin.
3. The edge of the patches may become inflamed and cause itching.
4. Direct exposure to the skin may cause the symptoms to aggravate.
According to Ayurveda, Leucoderma is caused due to the aggravation of Pitta Dosha. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor which symbolizes heat or fire, and is manifested in the skin. Aggravated Pitta leads to accumulation of ama (toxins) in deep layers of the skin, leading to the condition of Leucoderma.
Pitta is of five types; one of them is Bhrajak Pitta that gives coloration to skin. In the case of Leucoderma, Bhrajak Pitta is in an imbalanced state, and therefore, the skin starts losing its color and white patches appear. Along with Pitta Dosha, deeper body tissues like Rasa Dhatu (nutrient plasma), Rakta (blood), Mansa (muscles), Lasika (lymph) are also involved in the disease.
Treatment consists of pacifying imbalanced body energies, cleansing the blood and administrating herbs that restore skin color. Poor digestion is the root cause of this disease, as it causes the build-up of toxins in the tissues. An essential part of treatment, therefore, is restoring digestion. The patient will also be advised on the correct diet and lifestyle adjustments to prevent recurrence of the disorder.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Increase consumption of vegetables that are bitter in taste, like drumsticks and bitter gourd.
- Stay away from difficult to digest foods, sour taste, excessive salt, curd, fish, jaggery and sesame seeds.
- Avoid consumption of opposite foods, such as fish and milk together.
- Have sound and adequate sleep daily.
- Do not over-expose yourself to excessive cold or heat conditions.