Mar 292011

Leucoderma, also called vitiligo, is a skin disease. In literal terms leucoderma means white skin. The symptoms are appearance of white spots and white patches on different parts of the body. The patches are called leucoderma. However, spots that appear without any previous disease are called vitiligo. Often appearance of white spots is mistaken for leprosy, another skin disease of different type. About two percent of the population of the world suffers from this disease.

When a person suffers from this skin disease, certain parts of the skin of his body loose the natural color and turn white. The cause is loss of melanin, a pigment for coloring the skin. The problem starts with appearance of small patches at some parts of the body and if not treated, may remain of the same size or spread and cover the whole body. This disease is not a contagious skin disease.

The causes of this problem could not be fully ascertained despite various studies conducted by scientists. Some of the causes that can be linked to this problem are hereditary factor or extreme emotional stress, or worms and prolonged illness. This is more predominant in case of dark skinned people. These patches begin to appear when the cells stop to produce melanin. If these appear on the part of the body covered with hair, they also turn white. The cause of vitiligo is disorder in the immune system of the body, which destroys pigment producing cells. The other noticed causes are deficiency of vitamin B12, or overactive thyroid and diabetes has also been seen as a cause. Stress and sunburns can also be the cause of white patches.

Treatment: Since this disorder is related to hormonal disorder, hormones correcting cream is prescribed for application on the affected part. In extreme cases surgical treatment is also suggested. By surgical process cells from the non affected part of the body are transplanted to the affected part. Vitamin B is the chief vitamin suggested for treatment of white patches. Eating food rich in vitamin B will be of great help. The foods rich in vitamin B are grains, brown rice, wheat and nutritional yeast. For improvement of hormonal functions of the body omega 3 is helpful. Vitamin B also helps to remove deficiency of stomach acids resulting in better absorption of nutrients.

Long exposure to direct sunlight is another option for treatment of white spots. This way, by exposure to sunlight, process of artificial photosynthesis is started as the cells which produce pigment gets activated with sunlight.