What is Vitiligo

Vitiligo (pronounced viti-Leye–go), is a disorder of the skin where white patches appear all over the body surface. These skin patches are lighter than the rest of the skin and can be easily noticeable to all present. It is believed that the patches appear white in color because of lose of skin color (skin pigmentation) which gradually becomes lighter and lighter until they are almost white or pinkish in color. Sometimes the blood vessels can be seen through the lightened skin. This is because the cells that create the pigment are destroyed in that specific area of the skin. These skin patches are irregular in shape and feel like normal skin when touched. The people living in more tropical regions of the world have much darker skin and their cases of Vitiligo are more visible to the naked eye than their lighter skinned counterparts living in the temperate regions.

These white patches can appear suddenly or gradually but they are easily noticeable because the edges are clearly defined. Vitiligo first appears in the face, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. On some people these white patches can be very sensitive to the sun and mildly itchy. This is found on the body surface, however inside the body Vitiligo can be seen within the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eye.

About 65 million people are affected by Vitiligo all over the world. This disorder sets in early in life and becomes most noticeable before middle age (about 40 years). Both male and female genders are susceptible to it and it is known to affect both in more or less equal proportions. Half of the world’s Vitiligo sufferers are young children and adults below the age of 20.

It is believed that certain people have a susceptibility to Vitiligo. These are people with symptoms like,  an over active thyroid gland, or people who do not produce enough of the corticosteroid hormone, or people who have patches of baldness, or people with low red blood cell count due to their body’s inability to absorb vitamin B12. These are conditions that affect the body’s autoimmune system and doctors have been unable to establish their exact relation to Vitiligo.

Vitiligo may also be hereditary since most sufferers of Vitiligo have children with Vitiligo. There are also opposing statistics that show that some Vitiligo sufferers have no history of Vitiligo at all. It is interesting to note that Vitiligo also affects animals and cases have been recorded in various historical records in biblical, Chinese and Greek times.

Vitiligo is an old disorder that has existed since time immemorial and recorded from as early as 2200 BC. The name Vitiligo is derived from the Roman language where the first part “viti” means “blemish or mark” and the second part “ligo” means “blind or cause”.

In recent history we have heard interesting stories of famous sufferers like the late Michael Jackson and much more recently his son, Michael Joseph Jackson, both from the USA. Other suffers are actors like Amitabh Bacchnan (India), Holly Marie Combs (USA) and other singers like Sisqo (USA). Vitiligo does not choose its sufferer; it is a combination of the he"reditary genes and the autoimmune system of the body.

Most people on seeing Vitiligo sufferers tend to feel fear and superstition and associate it with the wrong conclusions. However without good information we can misunderstand Vitiligo skin disorder, but we should be sure that it is definitely not;

  • "Albinism" which is a totally different condition affecting the whole body and with a different diagnosis.
  • A curse – most uneducated people can think the unsightly "skin patches" are as a result of a curse.
  • Contagious – you cannot touch a sufferer and get the disorder. This is a disorder that is related directly to the immunity system of the sufferer and is not transmitted by touch.

When a person has Vitiligo he or she must change their lifestyle so as to control their condition. One way is to change their diet to make it carefully balanced and highly nutritious. Food supplements are highly recommended, especially those that help to boost the body’s autoimmune system and general well being of the body. The idea is to ensure that the vital body organs are in excellent working order and remain that way. In some case a good diet may even help repair the skin color and enable new skin pigmentation to form and give the skin its original even color tone.

Vitiligo sufferers can benefit much from a diet rich in these particular food groups with skin boosting properties;

  • Increase in grains and nuts which are rich in fiber and contain a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Oats stand out as a particularly favored for its rich supply of vitamin E. This vitamin is excellent in fighting bacterial infections thus boosting the immunity system. Also vitamin E is an excellent skin boosting vitamin.
  • Spinach, which is a leafy vegetable that is very rich in iron. It keeps the skin from degeneration.
  • omatoes"are an excellent antioxidant with their high vitamin C content. For skin to remain healthy in must be free from free radicals that cause many skin infections.
  • Garlic, which despite its pungent smell comes tops in its anti-bacterial fighting properties.
  • Cabbage to boost your vitamin C intake. Cabbage is also rich in fiber, which is excellent for the skins’ rejuvenation.
  • Fruits in general for their skin refreshing properties. In particular blue berries stand out as both very delicious and act as powerful anti-oxidants.
  • Olive oil is excellent in helping to absorb the much needed nutrients into the body.

Keeping the body fit and healthy and drinking lots of water is also recommended to keep the autoimmune system in good fighting order.

Trusted and verified