Most Common Causes of Vitiligo
Although very obvious on a dark-skinned person, the white skin spots caused by vitiligo can happen to anyone of any age, race, or gender. Just as there are many faces of vitiligo, there are also many causes.
If you have vitiligo, you likely fall into one of two groups: those who are predisposed to get it and those who suddenly, unexpectedly notice the white spots.
- Vitiligo runs in your family – If you think you have vitiligo and see a physician for a diagnosis, be prepared for a battery of tests and questions. And at the top of the list, you will most likely be asked if anyone in your family has it. This is because 20-30% of people who have it can trace it back to someone in the family tree.
- You have another autoimmune problem – Although doctors aren’t 100% sure that it is an autoimmune condition, it very well could be that your own cells are attacking your menalocytes (pigments cells), causing patches of skin to lose pigment. If you have (or have family history of) a condition that could compromise your immune system, such as Addison’s, alopecia, diabetes, or anemia, you could be susceptible. These two factors do not guarantee that you will get vitiligo. In fact, one of the reasons doctors continue to scratch their heads over this is because of other possible causes, not related to family history, listed below.
- A single, stressful event – Anything from a severe sunburn to giving birth can cause or aggravate vitiligo. Any kind of major, stressful event like this could be the instigator in a person who, otherwise, has never had any other indicators.
- A stressful lifestyle – If you work long hours and don’t get much sleep, and if your already-taxed body does not receive the proper nutrition and exercise to maintain its health, you are the perfect breeding ground for this skin ailment. If you already have vitiligo and then experience a period of particular stress, you could notice a sudden spread of the white patches.
- Chemical dyes – The phenol chemical PPD, which is found in hair and clothing dyes, eye drops, cosmetics, and many other products that we use on a regular basis can cause discoloration of the skin when it comes into contact. Unfortunately, the packaging for these items is likely not labeled with any kind of warning. So read the ingredients lists carefully, and put the box down if you see PPD or anything else you think suspicious.
If you are diagnosed with vitiligo, your physician could offer a treatment plan or a topical steroid cream, but the results with these are spotty, at best, and often expensive.
Although you cannot avoid genetics or sudden, stressful events, you can practice a healthier lifestyle, starting with getting 7 to 10 hours of sleep every night.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and make sure to take vitamins, such as B-complex, B12, C, and D. Although results are not consistent in every person, these kinds of natural solutions are much more effective and could greatly reduce even genetically-induced vitiligo.
For more information about treatment, I recommend checking out Michael Dawson’s new e-book. You can find the review for it over here.