Vitiligo- Myths busted

By- Dr. Yugal Rajput


M.B.B.S., M.D.


Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology,


G.S.V.M. Medical College, Kanpur.


Ex. Consultant Fatima Hospital, Lucknow.


Also known as sweth-kushth in Indian subcontinent, even the name itself betrays the stigma associated with the condition. By associating a condition, mind you “a condition” with a disease that is so communicable and damaging to ones body and soul i.e., leprosy, the people affected by this condition were marginalised and looked upon with sympathy and equivalent to untouchables.


Lets clear some myths-


1- First of all its not a disease at all. Its just cosmetic problem. People who have difficulty in getting rid of the condition shouldn’t worry much because you are totally fine. There is nothing wrong with the rest of your body.


2- ALL WHITE PATCHES ARE NOT VITILIGO. Many a times diagnosing vitiligo is easy but some cases do require proper physical examination, woods lamp examination, Dermoscopy and maybe biopsy also. There are multiple causes of depigmentation so get it examined by a qualified dermatologist and treated accordingly.


3- There is NOTHING THAT CAN GUARANTEE 100% TREATMENT. The condition can be treated many times easily but, yes, it can come back and it may take time to resolve completely. There are certain sites where it may not resolve easily like the tip of your feet and hands, hairless areas and over the joints.


4- EATING ANY THING DOES NOT GIVE YOU VITILIGO, neither can parhez treat the condition. This has been established with enough scientific proof that diet has no relation neither the combination of foods in causing vitiligo. However antioxidants can halt the progression of patches, YES , that orange, lemon, guava, they can halt the progression of vitiligo.


5- There are phases when this may stop abruptly, may resolve spontaneously and may reappear SO DO NOT CORELATE IT WITH ALLOPATHIC MEDICINES. Your dermatologist is trained to treat it properly, he’s not giving any medicines to aggravate your condition. If you are choosing a qualified skin expert for your ailment then trust him, inform him about spike in lesions, he/she can manage it in next visit.


6- Do you reject a marriage proposal because the girl’s/boy’s family is having hypertension or diabetes? Then why do you do so when they have vitiligo. Its a similar risk profile in these conditions, whereas diabetes and hypertension can affect all body organs, vitiligo doesn’t affect even 1 other that skin pigmentation. It can run in family BUT IT CAN APPEAR SPONTANEOUSLY ALSO, what will you do then?


7- Its an autoimmune condition so to control it we have to give some immunomodulators. We as doctors are treading safely to be able to control the condition as well as not to affect immunity adversely. Sometimes even after all the medicines we are not able to halt progression of the condition. In this case DRUG HOLIDAY is necessary as it has been seen that after few months the patients start responding to previous treatment modalities.


8- Surgeries are safe. For all those difficult to treat sites and unresponsive sites of vitiligo, surgeries are a good option having high success rates in expert hands.


9- Phototherapy, EXCIMER lamp or laser all employ UV light for the treatment of vitiligo. If dose and duration of exposure has been calculated scientifically they can treat vitiligo without any adverse effects.


10- Sometimes people affected by this condition are under tremendous pressure and stress. Its the duty of family members to relieve them of it. Stress is a known factor to aggravate vitiligo. So give them a jadu ki jhappi and see their faces shine, their stress go away and their body will take care of those patches on its own.

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