For many years I relied on self-tanning products to #camouflage my white patches and hair dyes to #hide my grey hairs. I now shudder to think about the harm that repeated use of these products may have caused and how they almost certainly contributed to the severity of my vitiligo.
DHA - the active ingredient in self-tanning products - has been shown to cause higher levels of free radicals in the skin when exposed to sunlight. And hair dye typically contains a cocktail of harsh chemicals like ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, MEA and PPD.
Since research strongly suggests that oxidative stress plays a key role in the development of vitiligo, it finally dawned on me that the last thing anyone with vitiligo should be doing is causing further oxidative stress by applying these chemicals to their skin on a regular basis. So I now use #henna for my hair (I can recommend henna bricks from Lush). Not only does pure henna contain no synthetic chemicals but it actually has antioxidant properties so it will not only colour your hair but may also fight free radical damage at the same time.
As a convert to henna hair colouring I wondered if henna could also provide a healthy alternative to self-tan. After all, it has been used for centuries for semi-permanent tattoos. I don't have much vitiligo to test it on now (I have re-pigmented almost 100% using a nutritional approach) but I still have some mottled areas on my hands, so I tried it there and found it pretty good. After colouring my hair I used the remaining henna mixture to coat the white patches and then carefully put surgical gloves on top. After 2 hours I removed the gloves and washed off the henna residue. The colour it left on the skin was a light, golden tan - an almost perfect match for the surrounding skin. I only did this today, so I don't know how long it will last - but I'm guessing about 7 - 10 days, which is about the same as a regular self-tanning product.
My name is Caroline.