One of the first areas of my face to lose its pigment when I was a child was the corners of my mouth - a common site of vitiligo lesions. I always assumed that this was because there is something in the saliva of vitiligo sufferers that triggers pigment loss in the same way as there seems to be something in tears that cause vitiligo to develop around the eyes. This may well be the case but there is also another factor that may contribute to white patches around the mouth and that most people use without even thinking about the problems it might cause ... toothpaste!
Many brands of toothpaste contain hydrogen peroxide, which of course is a powerful bleach. Researchers into vitiligo have found that vitiligo sufferers already have higher levels of hydrogen peroxide in their skin than the rest of the population. So it definitely does not make sense for anyone with vitiligo to use a product two or three times a day that contains this substance and comes into contact with their skin.
I, for one, am going to be looking very carefully at the ingredients listings on the toothpaste I put in my shopping basket from now on!
Voltaire (1694-1778) said "The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease."
If you are re-pigmenting naturally, as I have done, you'll know that nature takes her time. It's taken me 3 years but at least it's been faster than waiting for a wonder-drug!
If you are using a holistic, complementary or nutritional treatment, my advice is to give it plenty of time and try not to obsess over the expected results. My pigment started to come back without my even noticing at first because I was busy getting on with my life. I thought the mottled appearance of my skin was just a case of sunburn and peeling until I looked closely and realised it was hundreds of freckles!
I have found myself offering a lot of advice to other vitiligo sufferers since re-pigmenting unexpectedly 3 years ago. Most of that advice has been in response to specific questions about my treatment. But I also have another piece of advice to offer based on my own experience and that is on the unlikely subject of photography. During the decades when my vitiligo was so widespread and - as I saw it - disfiguring, I avoided having any pictures taken that showed my white patches. Consequently, I had no "before" pictures - quite simply because it never occurred to me that my vitiligo would ever do anything but continue to spread. When I started to see freckles appearing all over my depigmented skin I (reluctantly still!) allowed the photo on the left to be taken so that I would have a record of the improvement. I was much happier posing for the right hand picture (about a year later) for obvious reasons. But my point is, no matter how severe or long-term your vitiligo may be, don't assume that it will always be that way. There may come a time when you wish you had some really good (bad) "before" pictures so you can show how dramatically your skin has improved!
Earlier this year some promising research was reported which offers vitiligo sufferers hope of a possible vaccination to reverse the autoimmune response thought to be responsible for the condition. Like everyone else with vitiligo, I long for the day when a definitive SAFE cure is found and I will be looking out for updates on this research. In the meantime I am continuing to use a natural nutritional approach to my vitiligo and am happy to say that, 3.5 years on I have had no relapse at all and am still continuing to see improvement in the density and uniformity of my re-pigmentation (which has progressed from roughly 20% of my body to about 98% in that time - most of it occurring in the first year). My own belief is that it is better to take responsibility for our own health and do what we can to improve it by whatever safe means we can research for ourselves than it is to wait year after year for the men and women in white coats to produce a scientific miracle. Either way - whether you choose to do something proactive about treating your vitiligo or whether you decide to embrace your white patches - the important thing is not to put your life on hold. Life is too short!
I have long suspected that the cause of my vitiligo was a compromised digestive system and, sure enough, when I started supplementing my diet my IBS symptoms improved along with my dramatic re-pigmentation.
I knew that candida yeast overgrowth was a problem and found that taking a good probiotic really helped keep it in check but it never occurred to me that something even more sinister might be contributing to the whole problem - that I might have intestinal parasites... Eeeew! In fact I was blissfully unaware that every creature on earth - including every human - has some of these in their gut and that they can get completely out of hand, causing a huge number of chronic illnesses, including vitiligo. It's not a pleasant thought (even less so if you are brave enough to look at some of the many YouTube videos that show these revolting infestations of the human intestine - I deliberately haven't put a helpful link here because it's so disgusting you may prefer not to research this too much!)
There are quite a few helpful websites on this subject and various ready-made or DIY remedies that you can use to rid yourself of most of these unwanted guests. Most natural therapists seem to recommend using a cleansing protocol a couple of times a year to keep your gut healthy and there are some natural supplements that incorporate a cleansing and probiotic action all in one.
I have no idea if bacterial and parasitic infestations are a root cause of vitiligo, as much of the literature on the subject would suggest, but either way I think that improving your gut health is bound to help your general health considerably and is certainly not going to do your vitiligo any harm either.
I just placed an order today for Xenca Boost and Bronze which I use for my vitiligo (Boost for re-pigmentation and Bronze to add a little bit of cosmetic colour to my remaining few white patches) and they are offering 2 for 1 at the moment, so it is a good time to stock up :) I order from www.buyxenca.com . Thank you to all of you who keep me updated on your progress - please keep the newsflashes coming - it's incredibly encouraging to hear your success stories. I never pass on names but it's great to be able to tell other vitiligo sufferers about your progress whenever I am asked.
My name is Caroline.