Vitiligo is a skin disorder characterised by loss of skin colour. The skin’s melanocytes (pigment-making cells) are lost or destroyed, resulting in smooth, well-defined white patches. These patches occur on one section or all over the body depending on the Vitiligo type. These patches may join, causing larger areas of depigmented skin. Vitiligo does not affect physical health but can cause emotional difficulties. Can Stress Cause Vitiligo?
Research suggests that Vitiligo has an autoimmune cause. Though hereditary factors are associated with Vitiligo, there is a growing case for stressful events playing a significant role in contracting Vitiligo.
Psychological trauma should be considered as a potential disease trigger in people who are predisposed to developing Vitiligo. A predisposition is a tendency to a condition, usually based on the effects of genetic and environmental factors.
Who has a predisposition for Vitiligo?
- There is approximately 20% risk of developing Vitiligo if at least one close relative has the disease. Vitiligo can run in the family, though this is not always the case as only 6% of children with a parent who has Vitiligo will develop the disease.
- Roughly 15% to 2% of Vitiligo sufferers have at least one other autoimmune disease.
- If there are variations found in genes involved in the body’s immune system or melanocyte function, it is possible that each can contribute to the risk of developing Vitiligo.
Stress can be due to one or many reasons acting together all at once. Emotional disturbance is the damage caused to the mind after a really distressing event. This trauma typically affects the person’s ability to cope with the overwhelming emotions involved. This could lead to long-term negative consequences. Often, a person is subjected to small, cumulative stressful events which are considered insignificant individually but can become overwhelming when experienced over time.
The topmost stressful events on the Holmes and Rahe scale are:
- Death of a spouse or child
Grief has emotional and physical symptoms such as: sleep difficulties, poor appetite or overeating, shakiness or trembling, listlessness, disorientation, headaches, dizziness, and exhaustion. Some individuals often withdraw from society.
- Accidents or personal injury
Symptoms of emotional trauma following an accident are mostly short-lived but can last for a long time. Depending on the severity of the accident, nightmares, blackouts depression and avoidance of anything that reminds them of that occurrence can be commonplace.
A woman’s emotional and mental experience of birth has a significant impact on her post-delivery physical and psychological state. A positive childbirth experience improves maternal well-being, while a negative experience can lead to psychological distress as well as postpartum depression or post-traumatic stress symptoms. These are often connected with the level of pain perceived during childbirth, and the burden of responsibility of baby care.
- Divorce or marital separation
Divorce is associated with an increase in depression. People experience sadness at the loss of their partner, as well as their hopes, dreams, and lifestyle. There is also a significant feeling of guilt for the devastating effects the divorce has on the children.
- Dismissal from work
The emotional effects of job termination are feelings of rejection, or bitterness – especially if the dismissal is deemed to be unfair. If there is no mediation option, there will also be feelings of frustration and vulnerability.
Although retirement decisions occur late in life, they can significantly affect an individual’s well-being for many years. Psychological effects of disengagement from a work life and the transition to retirement include identity disruption, decision paralysis, and diminished self-confidence. Now that retirees have a longer life expectancy, there is more awareness of the economic necessities after retirement.
- Moving house
Although moving to a new home is often a positive event, it is often traumatic. Children, especially, express anger and despondency when they must deal with a new school and neighbourhood. The entire family experiences a certain amount of grief over the perceived loss of their friends, colleagues, and familiar surroundings. Added to this, are the pessimistic feelings of displacement.
The above stressors are actual events that can be pinpointed as factors causing psychological stress, and these can cause Vitiligo symptoms to flare up. There is a multitude of additional stressful factors that influence the modern lifestyle. Consider some of the ways the modern world is different from the one our ancestors encountered.
Diversity – We can speculate whether our brains are equipped to handle the degree of diversity we face today. We deal with differing cultures, languages, religious beliefs, and political affiliations. Added to that, we are bombarded with guilt about the conflicting feelings we have regarding any of these values. There are also fluctuating society principles that put pressure on social and professional relationships.
Comparisons to unrealistic standards – We are bombarded with television images of beautiful, rich, successful, talented people. Often, these images are digitally altered, but we compare ourselves to these images, developing into a recipe for disappointment.
Specialisation – In the 1600s you could have a good grasp of all academic knowledge and could master the known mathematics or philosophy. In the 1900s you could, if you worked hard, aspire to master a single field—like mathematics, physics, philosophy, or history. We now must work harder than ever to get mastery of ever smaller, focussed fields, and the payoff for this effort is smaller than ever.
Competition – Our place in the job market is no longer secure. If there is a lot of competition for our position, we can be replaced with someone better. And there is almost always someone better.
Technical innovation – Innovations happen so quickly because we have such high degrees of specialisation, diversity, and market efficiency. Many people have been left behind after years of helping to build our world. These people have become irrelevant.
Immediacy – In the days when newspapers and magazines were the links we had with global and national events, we would read about wars, epidemics, and celebrity gossip as soon as the next day or the day after. Now, we get news as it’s happening on our cell phones. We remain connected across time zones, often mistaking news that is factual and accurate from news that has been manufactured.
In modern life, stress is relentless, pressure builds and eventually causes damage to the system. It has been proven that when facing chronic stress, the autonomic nervous system is affected, and chronic stress is the result. As the stress cycle continues, health problems become increasingly serious. This is an optimal environment for Vitiligo!
Is there a Vitiligo cure?
The short answer is, “Not yet!”, but there are very effective Vitiligo Treatment options. Individuals who have Vitiligo have been shown to have low levels of Vitamin B12 and Folic acid.
Vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) is part of the Vitamin B complex. These vitamins are responsible for DNA synthesis and the maintenance of the nervous system. They are water-soluble and not stored by the body. Food sources of Vitamin B12 are found in animal protein (dairy, shellfish, poultry, and fish). Fatigue, palpitations, dizziness, and shortness of breath are some of the presentations of Vitamin B12 deficiency. People may also experience diarrhoea and a tingling sensation in their fingers and toes.
Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. Folate (Vitamin B9) is important in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function. Folate is found in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts. Fruits rich in folate include oranges, lemons, bananas, melons, and strawberries. Folate deficiency can occur in people who have conditions that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients from foods (malabsorption syndromes).
Vitamin D3 is associated with an increase in tyrosinase activity and melanogenesis, which contributes to the repigmentation of Vitiligo macules. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vitamin D3 has been added to the Vitilox® Vitamin B12, Folic Acid & Vitamin D3 to help patients deficient in this nutrient.
People who have low levels of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid, and who are predisposed to contracting Vitiligo, experience an increase in Homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine levels increase the oxidative stress on the melanocytes, increasing the risk of developing Vitiligo.
For those who already have Vitiligo lesions, the Vitilox® Vitiligo Pigmentation Cream penetrates the skin and stimulates the melanocytes into releasing melanin. This product has been described as the most effective cream available for the recovery of the natural skin tone.
Vitiligo is a chronic condition which can either persist for a long time or reappear. While Vitilox® Pigmentation Management Formula will restore pigmentation, it will also ensure there is no further outbreak. These capsules have been formulated for Vitiligo patients who have regained their pigmentation after treatment. They will ensure that the Vitiligo lesions don’t reappear.
Research has shown that Vitiligo patients have a disposition to abnormal cholesterol and glucose intolerance and increased homocysteine levels. These symptoms can lead to cardiovascular threats. Vitilox® PMF – Pigmentation Management Formula is beneficial to both the skin lesions experienced by Vitiligo patients as well other potential medical conditions. Vitilox® PMF – Pigmentation Management Formula restores the body’s homocysteine levels to normal thus significantly reducing the cardiovascular risks.
Whatever your own circumstances, treat your body with kindness. Remember, you are not alone!
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any further information pertaining to this article – Can Stress Cause Vitiligo? – or require any additional detailed information on our products.
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Published by Vitiligo Treatment