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Alternative Therapies for Vitiligo

There are many alternative treatments for skin problems like vitiligo that may or not be recognized by doctors and dermatologists. As compared to healthy people, individuals affected with vitiligo often have decreased levels of folic acid and vitamins B12 and C in their blood. In a research analysis conducted on eight patients with vitiligo, vitamin B12 and oral doses of folic acid along with vitamin C were given to the patients, and it was recorded that there was a significant change in the subjects' re-pigmented skin without any side effects. Another study that tested 100 vitiligo patients with folic acid and vitamin B12 daily for three to six months showed definite re-pigmentation in approximately 52 patients. Re-pigmentation was most apparent on sun-exposed areas. In addition, vitiligo ceased to spread almost 64 percent of the patients. Further tests are on to determine the dosage and amount of vitamins to be administered to patients with vitiligo.

Although research has yet to confirm results, preliminary data suggests that an application of creams and ointments containing antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotenes, ginkgo biloba and camellia sinensis can be helpful in resuming normal skin pigmentation in vitiligo patients. Preliminary studies reveal that ginkgo biloba helps to halt the skin condition and re-pigment the skin. Ginkgo biloba as a herb is thought to be a powerful antioxidant and an immune-system modulator, and perhaps because of these qualities the herb tends to work on vitiligo patients. The active ingredients in gingko biloba are also known to soothe many inflammatory and allergic disorders. However gingko biloba may induce some gastrointestinal irritation, headache and dizziness.

Some useful supplements that might help to treat vitiligo skin problem in the long run are vitamin B complex, copper and L-phenylalanine, and ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation therapies. A combination with the amino acid known as L-phenylalanine (LPA) might be of some help when used along with ultraviolet (UVA) light treatment. However the doctor or the dermatologist must keep a look out for metal poisoning. Extracts of khella or Ammi visnaga might be effective in re-pigmenting the skin of patients with vitiligo. Khellin, which is an active component of khella or Ammi visnaga seem to appear to work like the psoralen drugs. The extracts help to stimulate re-pigmentation of the skin by changing the sensitivity of the remaining melanocytes to sunlight.

Another form of skin treatment that may catch up soon is the topical application of a pharmaceutical form of vitamin D, called calcipotriol, which might be effective in energizing the re-pigmentation in children who have vitiligo. In a preliminary research study, children were given a topical application of an ointment containing calcipotriol. This ointment was applied daily and the children were asked to expose the affected areas to sunlight for 10–15 minutes the following day. After a period of 11 months, certain areas to complete re-pigmentation was observed in approximately 55 percent of the children, while moderate re-pigmentation took place in 22 percent, and limited or no change was seen in the remaining 22 percent. However it was noticed that none of the affected children grew new patches of vitiligo.