Leucoderma, also known as Vitiligo, is a dermatological condition that is characterized by a change in skin color whereby some parts of the skin become paler than the rest of the body.
The skin condition is accompanied by the loss of melanin, which is a dark pigment found in the skin. Melanin is responsible for the particular color of the skin. When it gets lost or damaged, the affected part of the skin attains a white color. Some medical doctors argue that the skin condition may result from several conditions such as mental stress, disorders of the digestive tract, or damage to the liver.
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What Is Leucoderma?
The condition can also occur as a result of infestation by worms and other parasites, or as a result of genetics. The presence of leucoderma can sometimes be used as a symptom in the diagnosis of parasite infestation.
In this article, we are going to look at the causes of leucoderma, its signs and symptoms, and the possible treatment remedies that can be used to manage the skin problem.
The primary cause of vitiligo is still unknown. However, scientists suggest the skin disease can occur due to autoimmunity, in which the body's defense system attacks and destroys the healthy tissue and cells in the body.
Other theories suggest that the condition may result from impaired liver function, typhoid, and gastric disorders.
Vitiligo may also result from other external factors such as an ulcer, a burn, or a cut. The external causative factors affect the skin by damaging melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that are located beneath the skin.
The primary function of these cells involves the production of melanin. When melanocytes get damaged, there is a decrease in the manufacture of melanin. As a result, the individual will begin to develop white patches.
Genetic factors are also thought to be involved in the development of vitiligo. Individuals whose parents have vitiligo are likely to suffer from the same condition.
The initial symptom of vitiligo is the appearance of a white patch on the skin. A small white patch appears on the skin which later forms patches. The patches range in color from white to pink.
At this stage, the patches can be located in various parts of the body, including the arms, back, neck, chest, and face. The patches vary in size ranging from spots measuring as low as four millimeters to large spots whose diameter is no longer easily determined.
Scaling of the affected parts of the skin can occur at the later stages of the skin condition. During the initial development stages, the scaling of the disease may be caused by scraping the affected parts of the skin surface.
Vitiligo may also present with mild itchiness and a burning sensation in the affected area of the skin. The itchiness may worsen when an individual is sweating or when they are in an environment with high temperatures.
The condition can be very disconcerting when it is present in specific areas of the body, such as the neck or face.
It is advisable to visit a dermatologist immediately after you notice white patches on your skin. The condition responds to treatment well when it is treated during its early stages of development. The diagnosis of the leucoderma involves observing the appearance of the skin.
However, microscopic analysis of the fine scales obtained from the affected area of the skin may be carried out when required. Observation of the scales under a special microscope can detect the presence of yeast.
Provided below are both at-home and conventional ways that can be used for the management of leucoderma.
Leucoderma Home Remedies
The most popular home remedy that is used in the management of vitiligo involves the use of Psoralea seeds. The seeds are available in powder form. Topical application of the powdered seeds on the affected part of skin can help in relieving the associated symptoms. However, treatment with the powder of Psoralea seeds is associated with itchiness. It is advisable to discontinue the treatment whenever one experiences itchiness.
Some people have also used red clay as a home remedy for the management of the skin condition. However, no available evidence backs the efficacy of red clay in the management of vitiligo. Other herbs that are claimed to treat leucoderma include turmeric plants, goosefoot, and radish.
Leucoderma can also be managed by adopting a particular diet program. Patients suffering from vitiligo may benefit from fasting with fluids such as juices and fresh fruits. Other foods that can be introduced into the diet program include the whole wheat bread and hot steamed vegetables. Dairy products can also be added at later stages.
The goal of the dieting program is to help the body in getting rid of toxic substances that might be worsening the skin condition. After completing the diet plan, patients can now embark on eating a well-balanced diet that is comprised of seeds, nuts, vegetables, and grains, among others. Foods to avoid include sugars, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages.
Leucoderma Conventional Management
According to experts, no drug can completely stop the development of leucoderma. However, some medications used alone or in combination can improve the appearance of the affected skin.
The following are some of the drugs that can be used to control the development of vitiligo:
Corticosteroids that are available in the form of creams can be topically applied to the affected part of the skin to control inflammation. The use of corticosteroids early enough can also help to re-pigment the skin.
This is a form of vitamin D that can be used to manage leucoderma. The medication can be used in combination with ultraviolet light or corticosteroids. However, its use is associated with side effects such as itching and mild skin rash.
Treatment with light involves the use of a narrow band of ultraviolet-B light. The best results of this medical procedure are obtained when the patches are present on the trunk, limbs, or face.
Many forms of treatment are available to assist in restoring skin color in the affected areas of the skin for patients with leucoderma. You should seek medical assistance as soon as you notice leucoderma symptoms.
Treatment during the early development stages of the condition may help reduce its symptoms and even restore the original skin color.