Vitiligo Treatment: Other Treatment Options
Non-clinical alternatives are available for vitiligo patients
Alternative methods for treating vitiligo include:
- Camouflaging skin
- Dietary Changes
- Adding vitamins and supplements
Covering vitiligo patches with makeup, self-tanners, or dye can be a safe, easy way to make vitiligo less noticeable. Dyes stain the skin and can add enough color to the white patches so that they closely match the surrounding skin. Most makeup is available in a large variety of shades to closely match surrounding healthy skin. For many people with mild cases of vitiligo, makeup can be a safe and healthy way to improve the look of skintone and improve a patient's Quality of Life (QoL).
It is believed by many in the nutrition and holistic communities that the state of our skin is directly associated with the digestive system. Drinks and foods that we consume have an effect on blood, lymph and metabolism. Foods that are processed, highly acidic, and those that produce phlegm within our systems are thought to be destructive to our digestion, thereby putting our skin in a state that makes us more susceptible to certain conditions. Additionally, some foods may cause changes to blood circulation, which may trigger an auto-immune response. Foods to consider eliminating include: beef, milk and other dairy, citrus, watermelon, and tomatoes. Natural whole grains and those rich in fiber should be included in daily diet and include: millet, beans, spinach, carrots, chilies, turnips, almonds to name a few. It may be helpful to consult with a dietitian before starting on any new diet regime.
Vitamins and supplements
While there is unsubstantiated evidence that taking B vitamins and folate may help those with vitiligo, there is little supporting literature. One small placebo-controlled trial did find that patients taking ginkgo biloba extract found their vitiligo growth was slowed and caused repigmentation in some cases. Additional studies on the use of ginkgo for vitiligo are currently underway and may provide additional useful evidence to substantiate it's success. Check with a treating physician before taking ginkgo as it may adversely interact with other treatments or medication.
Some herbs although not well-studied, have been helpful to certain individuals with vitiligo. Naturalists and holistic doctors have recommended a variety of herbs and include:
- Rosa damascene
- Althea officinalis
- Malva sylvastris
- Foeniculum vulgare
- Ficus carica
- Glycyrrhiya glabra
- Vitis vinfera
- Operculina turpethum
- Apium graeolens
- Casia angus tifolia
- Zingerbeer officinale
Natural sunlight has been shown to increase production of melanocytes in the body. Fifteen to twenty minutes of sunshine daily can be a natural way to promote melanocyte growth in some vitiligo patients. UV therapy using artificial light has also been shown as an effective means of treating vitiligo. Moreover, targeted UV phototherapy is safer than broadband UV light, which has a higher likelihood of causing sunburn and melanoma.