How I turned my bath tub into a skin-healing spa
No matter what your doctor may have told you, there are many effective treatments for #vitiligo. I used a combination of certain nutritional supplements and regular sun exposure to regain nearly all my lost pigment after 50 years of very extensive vitiligo. Others have had success with the same, or similar, approaches. Others still, have ignored diet and nutrition altogether (as do most doctors - shockingly, in my opinion) yet still manage to achieved good results using topical treatments and/or phototherapy, although the benefits of only treating the skin from the outside are often temporary because they do not address the underlying cause or causes.
Possibly the most famous vitiligo therapy in recent years, and the one with the highest level of documented success, is the #DeadSea treatment developed by Dr Karin Schallreuter, consisting of topical pseudocatalase, sun exposure and Dead Sea bathing. As far as I am aware (and please correct me if anyone knows otherwise) little or no nutritional strategy is included in her programme, which I think is a missed opportunity to equip patients with an additional means of sustaining their recovery in the long-term. Eating for optimum health and addressing any specific digestive issues that could have contributed to the development of vitiligo in the first place seems, to me, to be essential if improvements derived from topical therapies, UV therapy and climatotherapy are not to prove temporary.
On the other side of the coin though, it occurs to me that, in neglecting to use any topical creams or lotions whatsoever during my own repigmentation, I may equally have missed an opportunity to use every anti-vitiligo weapon at my disposal. And this realisation has led me to test various topical products over the past year or so while I have been researching the most helpful solutions for inclusion in my Vitiligo Store.
The first of these products to prove genuinely beneficial when I tried it on my remaining stubborn areas (parts of my hands and feet) was Vitix (which appears to work along the same lines as Dr Schallreuter's pseudocatalase formulation by delivering very powerful #catalase and SOD antioxidant protection direct to the skin to counteract the high levels of hydrogen peroxide known to accumulate in the skin of vitiligo sufferers). I can highly recommend this gel - from personal experience - for regular use on, and immediately around, vitiligo lesions and especially when used together with either sun exposure or narrowband UVB phototherapy.
The second topical product I chose was not even designed to treat vitiligo but has become an indispensable part of my daily life. You could say it is not so much topical as tropical...good quality coconut oil! I recommend this as a moisturiser for the entire body and face (as well as for a host of other uses) because I find it a safe, natural and affordable way to provide moisture and a significant level of every day antioxidant protection, as well as reducing the inflammation that can often occur with vitiligo.
My latest choice of every day solutions to help treat and manage vitiligo from the outside is one that takes us back to the subject of the Dead Sea "cure". The dermatological, and general, health benefits of the mineral-rich salts and mud found in the Dead Sea are legendary and form an important part of Dr Schallreuter's programme. Psoriasis, vitiligo and a wide range of other skin and musculoskeletal conditions have been treated there for thousands of years, and with dramatic and well documented success. So, whilst it may not be practical or affordable for everyone with these conditions to make regular visits to Israel or Jordan to float in the therapeutic waters (more's the pity!), the next best thing might be to create our own "pseudo-Dead Sea spa" at home, using products made from the active ingredients from that location... which is exactly what I have been doing for the past few weeks.
I have blogged a lot in the past on the subject of whether vitiligo is best treated from the outside or the inside and have come to the realisation that both approaches - used simultaneously - seem to achieve the most dramatic and long-term results. Interestingly, Dead Sea minerals could be said to work in both ways at once because soaking in a warm bath containing these therapeutic salts (not in hot water, but just a couple of degrees warmer than blood temperature) is a very effective way to detoxify and de-stress at the same time as drawing the beneficial minerals into your body. And given that so many people with vitiligo and other chronic conditions suffer from poor digestion and malabsorption of nutrients, taking these minerals in by means of regular salt baths may actually be more effective than swallowing them in supplement form.
So, I am now well into my new routine of adding Dead Sea salts to my bath water at least 3 times a week and have noticed how much smoother and better moisturised my skin feels. Already, it seems to be less prone to itching and irritation than it used to be. And I can report two additional bonuses that I have enjoyed so far: one is that my arthritic hip and fibromyalgia aches and pains have eased considerably (which is extremely good news, given that the chilly, wet weather we are having in the UK at the moment usually makes these worse) and the other is that, after every Dead Sea Salt bath I take, I get THE best night's sleep... zzzzzzzzzzzzz
A vitiligo blogger since 2011. My name is Caroline. I had vitiligo for nearly 50 years before finding an effective treatment. I created this blog to share my experiences with others affected by this skin condition.