Depigmenataion is a condition of a skin where skin loses its color. Normally the color of the skin is lost due to the destruction or dysfunction of Melanocytes. Depigmentation is normally aDepigmentation symptom of skin diseases such as Vitiligo and Albinism etc where depigmentation is a result of local or systemic disorder. Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder which is symptomatic with the depigmentation of skin.

In fact, the white patches of depigmentation are the only major symptom of Vitiligo because the disease per se is considered, although admittedly one of the oldest but, one of the most benign diseases since it affects no other body function nor does it endanger patient’s life nor is it contagious nor does it trigger infection or super infection of skin.
Melanocytes play a vital role in the onset of disease called Vitiligo. Melanocytes are cells that are present in the skin epidermis, ear, eye, bones, meninges and heart. They naturally secrete a brown-black pigment called Melanin whose function is to control the skin color. Number of melanocytes varies from 1000 – 2000/mm2 of skin. They make 5 – 10 % of total epidermis cells. Melanin, a colored pigment, not only determines the normal coloration of skin but, is also responsible for the protection against hazards of ultraviolet rays. This way, melanocytes and melanin protect skin from cancer.
Vitiligo is a rare disease. It is one of the oldest diseases in the world. It affects 1 – 2 % of the world population. It has been mentioned in ancient Chinese and Egyptian writings as old as 4000 BC.

Vitiligo depigmentation is the appearance of characteristic white patches on skin where melanocytes are destroyed or rendered non – functional. That Vitiligo has a definitive and certain cause has not yet been discovered. Since it is one of the oldest and most benign diseases in medical science, no much research is done and scientists seem to devote themselves to the prophylaxis and cure of malignant and life threatening diseases. However a number of theories have been presented giving plausible explanations about the causes of Vitiligo. They include Autoimmune disorders, genetics, sun burn, oxidative reactions, stress etc. Autoimmune reactions, considered the most valid and plausible theory, suggests that as a result of an auto immune disorder in the body such as Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism, body considers its own parts as foreign agents and launches an assault against them in the form of antibodies. It is thought that in Vitiligo, autoimmune reactions target melanocytes and assault them thereby destroying cells and rendering them non-functional. As a result of which melanin is not produced at all or secreted in insufficient amount. A white patch of depigmentation, characteristic of Vitiligo, appears on the skin where the melanocytes are destroyed. These patches normally appear on the body parts that are exposed to sun such as hands, arms, face, lips, feet, legs, groin, umbilical and genital areas. The depigmentation patches are of two types i.e. Segmental patches and Non Segmental patches. Segmental depigmentation patches can appear at any age and are normally spread to the whole body. Non Segmental depigmentation patches spread rapidly and can appear at any age.

Vitiligo treatment basically focuses on the treatment of Vitiligo depigmentation patches. Since no exact cause has been determined as yet, no exact cure is found. The Vitiligo depigmentation treatment therefore concentrates on relieving the patients of the uncomfortable appearance of skin. A number of such treatments are available, the choice of which demands care and consideration because a few techniques involve risk. Following are the available treatments;

Topical steroidal Therapy
It involves the topical application of steroid creams on patches

Homeopathic Therapy
Homeopathic discipline of science aims at curing the cause of Vitiligo than to erase the white patches. It is a slow, time taking remedy.

Ayurvedic Therapy
Like Homeopathy, Ayurvedic therapy considered Vitiligo to be a systemic disorder and aims to rectify the cause over a lengthy period of time.

Herbal Therapy
Herbal therapy includes application of herbal oils on skin. The herbal oils are made of natural ingredients and have been used for treatment of Vitiligo for centuries now.

Surgical Therapy
This type of remedy includes surgical incision of skin and removal of all the melanocytes giving skin a uniform color.
Tattooing, Sunscreens and cosmetics are also used to temporarily camouflage the Vitiligo patches.
Normally it is recommended to let the skin be. Sometimes it is best to not treat Vitiligo because the patches, other than being physically uncomfortable, provide no risk to patients. These patches may or may not spread, they are not contagious, they are not itchy, and they are not prone to catching infection. However, like all other people, Vitiligo patients are eager to get rid of their patches, which is completely understandable. Of all the available therapies, Herbal therapy is the best because it is free of side effects.

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