Vitiligo is a disease condition characterized by the patchy discoloration of the skin. The main peculiarity of the disease is that the discoloration gradually enlarges over time. It does not have any specific locations; it can appear on any part of the body. Inside the area of the mouth & hair is also affected. Melanin is the pigment that imparts pigmentation to hair as well as skin. The melanin-producing cells die or stop functioning due to some unknown reasons. It affects almost all skin types. Mostly the vitiligo in darker pigmented skin becomes more noticeable. It is not contagious or even life-threatening.
The condition creates mental insecurity & affects the social life of the person. The skin color can be normalized through treatment but it can recur again.
Loss of skin color in hands, face, or areas around the genitalia or body openings
Premature graying of scalp hair, beard, eyebrows & lashes
Loss of color in the inner tissues of the mouth as well as the nose.
Usually before 30 years, but it can appear at any age also.
Types of vitiligo
- Universal -It occurs in almost every skin surface
- Generalized- It appears in corresponding symmetrical areas.
- Segmental- It affects a side or a certain body part. It develops at a very younger age progresses in a year or 2, then it may stop.
- Localized – It appears in some body areas
- Acrofacial- It occurs in the hands & face. It may also appear in areas near the body openings.
Usually, it is very difficult to predict the disease’s progression. Sometimes it may stop even without any treatment. In some cases, it may spread to wide areas of the skin. The skin regains the normal color occasionally.
Ayurveda describes vitiligo as Swithra , which is of 2 types, kilasa &varuna. It can be hereditary, or toxicity induced, also it can appear as a side-effect of radiation therapies. The causes for the switra are the same as any other skin disease & it affects all dhathus or tissues. Here the main manifestation is the discoloration of the skin (twak vaivarnyata), with no skin discharges. (aparisravi).
Virudha ahara, incompatible foods
Atibhojana, excessive eating
Chardhi vegadharana- suppressing the urge of vomitting
Eating too much sweet, spicy & salty foods
For the above-said reasons the doshas Vata, pitta & Kapha gets aggravated, gets combined with the skin, blood & the water content of the body to produce skin disease in general, in this particular disease, there is the involvement of lymph & blood. Thus, the disease vitiligo manifests. If Vata dosha is predominant, then it is difficult to cure. Pitta predominant condition is a bit more difficult & the Kapha predominant condition is incurable. If the discoloration is new, non-matted, lesions contain black hair then it is curable. If it occurs in the palm, genitalia & sole, then it is incurable.
It is a chronic disease hence it should be treated without delay. Ayurveda classics explain 4 major steps of treatment. First is the purificatory therapy shodhana with bakuchi & snuhi Kashaya. Purgation occurs in different bouts. Oil massage depending upon the patient constitution & disease state is also chosen. The patient is allowed to expose to the sunlight depending upon the tolerance of the patient. Then the patient has to be advised a very light diet like the gruel for the 3 days. Then Kashaya prepared with Asana, palasha kshara, etc are given along with phanitha. The diet taken should be devoid of salt & should contain buttermilk.
Common lepas- Ankollakadi Lepa, Grhadhumadi Lepa, Bhallatakadi Lepa
Choornas- Bakucyadya Curna, Khadira saradi Curna
Ghritha- Jatyadi Ghrita, Mahatiktaka Ghrita
Avaleha- Bhallatak avaleha
Taila – MahaVajraka Thaila, Aragwadhayadya Thaila,
Vatika – Swayambhu Guggulu
Single drug medicines like Bakuchi oil is applied & exposed to sunlight.
Bittergourd, wheat, light food, green gram
Un wholesome food
Heavy foods or high-calorie diet, black gram, tubers
By avoiding the real causes & correcting the dosha dushti, it can be managed. Following pathya or whole some diet as well as regimen is very important in the treatment of skin diseases.