Leucoderma or vitiligo is a skin disorder wherein the skin develops white patches or spots. It is basically an outcome of melanin deficiency, a skin pigment that protects the skin from sun and other harmful radiations. Hence, the skin areas which are deficit in melanin over a period of time turn pale or white, resulting in white patches on the face, hands, and legs margined with dark or hyper-pigmented skin.
This condition can occur in people of all ages, irrespective of their sex, age, skin type, etc. However, it is more commonly observed in females than in men and in people below 40 years of age. It causes no organic harm and does not occur due to some bacterial or viral infection or bad blood. Furthermore, vitiligo is not contagious or infectious.
Causes and Symptoms
Though it is difficult to ascertain the actual cause, mental stress, excess of thinking, skin trauma, sunburn, chronic gastric disorders, jaundice, burn injuries, and other illnesses can be considered to be the probable factors that may cause the skin to stop producing melanin, hence, resulting in leucoderma. An affected person, during the initial stages, would develop small white patches or spots on the hands, wrists, neck, and back, which eventually spread to the other parts of the body as well. Apart from these indications, its symptoms may include premature graying of hair, loss of hair, hair on the affected skin turning white, sensitivity towards cold, weakness, and skin irritation when exposed to sun radiations or certain chemicals.
Is it Hereditary?
Another probable cause for vitiligo is hereditary, i.e. it is sometimes passes down through generations. Basically if one or both parents have it, their children may have a fraction of a higher risk than the other children. Though even normal people are at a risk of having this condition despite no family history, the chances of developing it are a bit more in people who have parents or grandparents affected by it. In cases where this skin condition is hereditary, there are less chances that it would get completely cured. However, homeopathy treatment and some home remedies for the cure like use of psoralea seeds and red clay in ginger water, or goosefoot, turmeric powder, etc., are believed to help prevent the disorder from spreading and in regaining the normal skin pigmentation.
Another matter of consideration is that quite often people mistake temporary white patches on the skin for leucoderma symptoms that disappear in a week or so. Hence, before considering such patches to be associated with this skin problem, do consult a dermatologist to ascertain the condition and then prescribe the necessary treatment.
On a conclusive note, we can say that genetics does play some role in vitiligo, though its role is very minor. Hence, hereditary cannot be the only factor that may trigger the chances of having this skin condition as there are many other factors that may contribute to the same. However, in order to reduce the risks of having this skin disorder, one should make healthy dietary changes by avoiding too much of tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages, all condiments, and highly-flavored dishes, sugar, white-flour products, denatured cereals like polished rice and pearled barley, and tinned or bottled foods. And also one should eat a balanced diet containing seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits to live and stay healthy in the long run.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.