Vitiligo and its homoeopathic approach to management

Vitiligo and its homoeopathic approach to management

Introduction:
Vitiligo is a skin disorder characterized by the development of white patches on the skin due to the loss of melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing the pigment melanin. Melanin gives color to the skin, hair, and eyes, and its absence in certain areas results in depigmented patches. The exact cause of vitiligo is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, autoimmune, and environmental factors. The progression and extent of vitiligo can vary among individuals. It may be stable for long periods, or new patches may continue to develop. The condition can have a significant impact on a person’s appearance and may be associated with social and psychological challenges.

Various types:

Non-Segmental (Symmetrical) Vitiligo: Generalized Vitiligo This is the most common type, characterized by scattered and symmetrical white patches on various body parts.

           Universal Vitiligo-Some cases, nearly the entire body may lose its pigmentation.

Segmental (Unilateral) Vitiligo: This type of vitiligo involves depigmentation on one side of the body and is often seen in a segmental or dermatomal distribution. It tends to develop at an earlier age than non-segmental vitiligo.

Mixed or Combined Vitiligo: Some individuals may have features of both non-segmental and segmental vitiligo.

Acrofacial Vitiligo:  Primarily affects the extremities (hands and feet) and the face.

Mucosal Vitiligo: Depigmentation occurs in the mucous membranes of the body, such as the inside of the mouth and genital areas.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • White Patches: The most noticeable symptom is the presence of white or light-coloured patches on the skin. These patches can vary in size and shape and may appear on any part of the body.
  • Symmetrical Appearance: Vitiligo often affects both sides of the body symmetrically, meaning that if a patch develops on one side, a similar patch is likely to appear on the corresponding area on the other side.
  • Common Sites: It often develops in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, arms, feet, and areas around body openings like the eyes, nostrils, and mouth.
  • Early Signs: Slight redness or itching in the affected area before the depigmentation becomes apparent.
  • Hair Colour: The hair located in the affected areas may also lose its natural colour, turning white or grey.
  • Mucous Membrane: Vitiligo can affect the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, leading to depigmentation in these areas.


Complications:

Risk factor of Skin Cancer: Areas of depigmented skin are more susceptible to sunburn because they lack the protective pigment melanin. Prolonged sun exposure may increase the risk of skin cancer in these areas.

Vision Problem: Vitiligo can also affect the eyes, leading to complications such as inflammation of the iris (iritis) or the retina (uveitis). This can result in light sensitivity and vision problems.

Impact of Social and Psychological Aspects: The noticeable changes in skin color can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem and mental well-being. Individuals with vitiligo may experience social stigma, discrimination, and emotional distress.

Thyroid Disorders: There is an increased prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disorders, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, in individuals with vitiligo. These conditions can affect the functioning of the thyroid gland.

Koebner Phenomenon: In a few cases, new vitiligo patches may develop in areas of the skin that have experienced trauma or injury. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.

Depression and Anxiety: The cosmetic impact of vitiligo can contribute to psychological challenges, including depression and anxiety. 

Homoeopathic Management of Vitiligo:

Calcarea Carb

Calcarea Carb is recommended to tackle milky white spots on the patient’s skin. It is one of the most common constitutional medicines for vitiligo given to patients who also report symptoms like excessive perspiration over their heads, chests, and necks. It is also recommended for patients who are sensitive to cold weather. 

Arsenic Album

Arsenic album is a homeopathic medicine for vitiligo recommended for patients who suffer from anxiety. It is often given to patients with milky white spots on dry, rough, and dirty skin.

Sepia

This is another major vitiligo medicine that is selected constitutionally. It has the power to completely eradicate the problem if sepia’s constitutional picture matches that of the patient. However, the constitutional symptoms indicating the use of sepia are often rare, the most common being indifference toward family and life. These patients often show aversion toward friends and family members whom they once loved dearly.

Silicea

Silicea is suited for patient’s constitutional makeup in treating vitiligo. The homeopathic remedy is recommended for patients with waxy and pale skin. It is ideal for patients experiencing excessive perspiration on their feet and hands. 

Sulphur

Sulphur is one of the most effective homeopathic remedies for vitiligo. The deep-acting medicine is prescribed by most homeopathy doctors to treat vitiligo and other related skin diseases. Sulphur dives deep into the problem and cures the root of the physical and mental issues triggering vitiligo. It is an ideal alternative to harmful allopathic medications that often carry undesirable side effects.

Nitricum Acidum

Nitricum Acidum contains the curative powers of the drug obtained via potentization. This is a deep-acting homeopathic remedy for vitiligo which can also be used to cure issues related to nerves, glands, gastrointestinal tract.

Carcinosin

Carcinosin is another common homeopathic medicine whose remedy is prepared from the material obtained from the carcinoma of the breast. Through potentization, carcinosin becomes an ideal cure for issues like vitiligo, leukemia, and issues affecting the lungs, eyes, heart, bones, etc.

Hydrocotyle Asiatica

Hydrocotyle Asiatica is a homeopathic medicine obtained from a plant named Indian Pennywort. Use the tincture prepared from the whole fresh plant as a remedy for vitiligo. The medicine stimulates skin pigmentation, returning the natural color of the patient’s skin.

 Phosphorus

Phosphorus is another highly beneficial homeopathic remedy for vitiligo. Potentization makes phosphorus capable of tackling skin conditions without any side effects. The remedy can be used to cure a wide range of diseases, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, hair loss, nephrotic syndrome, paralytic symptoms, respiratory symptoms, etc.
Reference:

Mahesh S, Mallappa M, Tsintzas D, Vithoulkas G. Homeopathic Treatment of Vitiligo: A Report of Fourteen Cases. Am J Case Rep. 2017 Dec 2;18:1276-1283. doi: 10.12659/ajcr.905340. PMID: 29196612; PMCID: PMC5723025.

About the author

Dr Prashant Gupta

Dr. Prashant Gupta is a distinguished Homeopathic Doctor with an impressive academic background. Holding a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Research from PHFI, He has also completed a Diploma in Hospital Management from NIHFW. Their commitment to advancing public health led them to pursue a Master’s in Public Health. With over 10 years of experience in the field of Clinical Research and Public Health, Dr. Prashant Gupta has made significant contributions. Their research endeavour has resulted in numerous publications in reputable journals/magazines. Their work spans a wide range of topics, from epidemiology to healthcare management. Driven by a passion for improving healthcare outcomes, Dr.Prashant Gupta actively engages in various research activities. Their expertise and dedication continue to impact the medical community positively.