What is vitiligo
Vitiligo is a chronic, non-contagious skin disorder that can occur in children, women and men. It is characterized by circumscribed pale to white skin patches lacking pigment that vary considerably in size and shape. Often the fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, feet and genitals are affected. But the depigmented areas may also appear on the face, such as around the eyes.
Vitiligo does not cause pain, but in the affected areas the skin does lack its natural UV protection. For this reason, the sun’s rays lead to dangerous skin lesions in affected areas more rapidly than in pigmented areas. Skin areas affected by vitiligo must therefore be especially protected. Vitiligo is a relatively common condition. It is estimated that about 0.5-2% of the world's population suffers from it; in Germany alone, about one million people have vitiligo.
There are some vitiligo support groups, because although the physical impairment is almost purely cosmetic, many people with the disorder suffer greatly from low self-esteem and the curious stares that their appearance attracts.
How does vitiligo develop?
Despite extensive research and many new insights into the disease, thus far no clear cause for vitiligo has been established. However, there is increasing evidence that an impairment of thyroid hormone metabolism or a disorder of the immune system (body's destruction of melanocytes) may be possible causes.
Currently there are several hypotheses as to which factors, alone and in combination, trigger or favor vitiligo:
The autoimmune hypothesis
The body's immune system attacks the pigment cells of the skin and destroys them. This would make vitiligo an autoimmune disease, similarly to Hashimoto's thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid disease) with which it may also co-exist.
The auto-aggression hypothesis
This assumes self-destruction of the pigment cells, caused by an imbalance of certain enzymes within the cells and the formation of toxic substances during the production of pigment.
The neural hypothesis
In the hypothesis of the so-called ‘neurogenic toxin effect’, prolonged mental stress leads to an outbreak of vitiligo or a deterioration of its course. This relationship is also known from other skin diseases (psoriasis, neurodermatitis). It is suspected that during periods of stress, an increased amount of toxins (poisons) is released from the nerve tissue and destroys the melanocytes (pigment cells). What is certain is that stress can accelerate the progression of depigmentation.
The hypothesis of neurocutaneous decoupling
Vitiligo is sometimes seen as a concomitant disorder in people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, which are pathological processes characterized by progressive nervous system dysfunction.
The hypothesis of free radicals
There have been increased indications that oxidative stress, which may be triggered by ozone, environmental toxins, poor diet, mental stress or stimulants, is instrumental in the development and progression of vitiligo. Then, the body can no longer sufficiently use antioxidants to scavenge free radicals that accumulate in the body. These free radicals mediate the oxidation of proteins and fats, and accelerate the aging of cell structures.
The hypothesis of traumatic injury
Here it is assumed that traumatic injuries cause an acute excess of free radicals in the cutaneous tissue and lead to the destruction of cell membranes and cell organelles, and may also lead to chromosomal damage. Trauma comes from such sources as severe sunburn, injuries or chemical damage to the skin.
The predisposition hypothesis
Another theory suggests that there is a genetic aspect to the tendency to develop vitiligo because sometimes several family members suffer from vitiligo.
How is vitiligo treated?
In recent years remarkable progress has been made in the treatment of vitiligo; however, according to current knowledge, cure is rarely achieved. Nonetheless, various therapeutic measures can lead to a significant improvement.
Which therapy is most indicated must be decided individually, depending on the age and skin type of the patient, as well as on the stage, extent and form of vitiligo. Therefore, those affected are urgently advised to consult an experienced dermatologist.
Make sure that the specialist physician explains the disease and its various therapeutic options in detail. Early psychological support should also be offered.
The currently most widely used therapeutic modalities include
Therapy with glucocorticoids or immune modulators in the form of ointments
Glucocorticoids have anti-inflammatory effects. Immune modulators affect the task of the immune system to restore normal function.
Irradiation with UVA or UVB rays
There are also combination therapies: PUVA, with the co-administration of psoralen, and KUVA, with the co-administration of khellin.
Treatment with excimer laser
These gas lasers work by electromagnetic, ultraviolet radiation. Dermatologists also use the xenon-chloride gas excimer laser for the treatment of other skin diseases that respond to UVB light such as psoriasis and neurodermatitis.
Homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
However, there is not yet any hard evidence for the effectiveness of these alternative medicine therapies.
Cosmetic covering of the affected skin areas.
VitiGO - the tried and tested formula now also available in Germany
Of course, people with darker skin color suffer more from white skin areas. So it is no wonder that the plant-based recipe for VitiGO cream was developed in the Middle East. Scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of its herbal active ingredients such as psoralen and apiin. And vitiligo patients from the sunny countries have been recommending it for years.
Powerful plants - more active ingredients
Such plants as celery, olives or black mustard that are processed for VitiGO cream come only from growing areas with a great deal of sunshine and excellent growing conditions. Because only vigorous, healthy plants contain high amounts of the active ingredients that benefit your skin through VitiGO cream. The quality of the ingredients of VitiGO cream is monitored regularly.