Vitiligo is a relatively common skin disorder that often affects the face, neck or hands, but can also appear in various other parts of the body. It is characterized by patches of white or depigmented skin. Patients sometimes feel a tingling sensation or itch when the skin loses pigment, but sometimes there is no sensation at all as the skin changes. Our unique approach to treating vitiligo combines the wisdom of traditional Chinese herbalism with current research on the pharmaceutical benefits of modern botanical extracts and exotic oils. This way, we integrate “the best of both worlds” to achieve the most effective holistic treatments available. Internal herbs lay the basic foundation of healing from within, while topical treatment adds to the efficacy and expedites healing.
In holistic dermatology, everyone’s case of vitiligo is unique. Chinese herbal treatment focuses on the underlying “patterns of disharmony” associated with each individual’s case. How can we tell what patterns you have? Read more…
Herbal medicine can be highly effective as a treatment for vitiligo. But from what we’ve found, Chinese medicine is beneficial in less than 35% of cases. Children generally respond better to treatment than adults. If there is still some pigment in the skin (when the vitiligo patches look pink or have varying shades of pigment) there is a higher chance of seeing positive results using herbal medicine than when the skin is totally de-pigmented. And best results are seen when the onset of vitiligo has been relatively recent (ideally 3 years in duration or less). In long-standing cases, it would by highly unlikely to see positive results with Chinese medicine.
In treating vitiligo, we find that tracking progress with photos is an essential way to evaluate progress. Pigment often begins to re-appear at the borders of patches or in spots within a patch. These areas of re-pigmentation ofter start to appear within the first month of taking herbs and applying a tincture topically, but sometimes this happens in the second month. The course of treatment can last for much longer than that. Patients may continue with herbs for 9 months or a year (sometimes even longer) as long as they continue to see positive progress. In some cases, herbs are administered for several months after which the patient takes a break for 4 to 6 weeks and then treatment resumes again.
Acupuncture benefits the stress that is often a factor in the onset or spreading of vitiligo. But acupuncture is never the primary treatment. Holistic treatment for vitiligo mainly relies on herbs and botanicals. Some patients also do a course of acupuncture treatment, but it’s generally for overall health and well-being. Acupuncture is not necessary for the specific treatment of vitiligo.