Vitiligo or Leucoderma is an acquired de-pigmentation of the skin that is very common with a worldwide preponderance. Leucoderma or vitiligo is a distressful skin disease and the word Leucoderma means ‘to have white skin’. There would be a gradual loss of pigment called melanin from the dermal layers that results into white patches. These patches look bad, especially in persons having dark complexions. Leucoderma can occur at any age, person and in any kind of skins.
Leucoderma is a fairly common disorder affecting nearly 2% of the world’s population. The incidence is a little more eminent in India. Leucoderma is, nevertheless, more common in women as compared to men. The most affected areas include the hands, the neck, the back and the wrists in the order.
Leucoderma is neither infectious nor contagious, which starts with a small white or pale colored patch and enlarges into larger patch in course of time. It has a considerable psycho-social impact
The various symptoms observed during Leucoderma are:
- A small, white patch on the skin which may expand with time
- Premature greying of hair
- Loss of hair
- Hair on the patches become white
- Sensitivity towards cold
- The patient may often suffer from mood swings or depression
There are many theories as to what may be responsible for causing leucoderma. Researchers have suggested an auto-immunological, neurological or auto-cytotoxic origin. None of these have been proven definitive.
However, According to the medical experts, the common causes of leucoderma are:
- Chronic or acute gastric diseases
- Deficiency of calcium
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- Intralesional steroid injection
- Excessive stress, tension and worry
- Impairment of hepatic or liver function (due to jaundice), worm infestation
- Wearing tight clothes
- Wearing rubber gloves
- Using stickers or tattoos on the skin
In Ayurveda, it is referred as Shwetakushta or Switra or Kilasa and classified into Kushta rogas (skin diseases). It is caused by the imbalance of all the three doshas (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) vitiating Rakta, Mamsa and MedhasDhatus.
Switra is classified into following types:
- Daruna – when doshas vitiates the rakta dhatu (blood), the patches will be red in color.
- Aruna – when doshas vitiates the mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue), the patches will be coppery in color.
- Kilasa – when doshas vitiates the medho dhatu (fat tissue), the patches will be white in color. This is the most common clinical presentation of svitra hence leucoderma is often called Kilasa.
Ayurveda advocates following line of treatment:
- Shodana chikitsa – Strong detoxification Panchakarma procedures should be done. Vamana, Virechana, Rakta mokshana using leeches are recommended.
- Shamana Chikitsa – done through oral medications and external applications.
- Patya (Diet) – strict diet restrictions, Lifestyle modifications, Yoga and meditation are advocated.
Apart from these Ayurveda has also given importance to Prayachitham (actions which remove sins) for the Paapa Karmas (sinful acts).
At CHARAKA, we are providing a very effective therapy for Leucoderma with above said guidelines and researched medicines with high treatment success rate. Early intervention of treatment (at least within 1 year from onset) gives maximum results.
Vitiligo or Switra has an unpredictable course and that its prognosis may not always be encouraging. One must avoid physical, chemical, and emotional trauma as far as possible. 1 year crossed and the lesions appearing in palm, sole, genitalia and lips are difficult to cure.