Causes of Vitiligo


“Vitiligo is the result of certain skin cells dying unexpectedly and suddenly”– Dr. S. Dhawan

According to Ayurveda - This disease is described as Shwet kushth in Ayurveda. Following are the causes according to Ayurveda texts.

  • Consuming foods with opposing properties at the same time, such as using Yogurt with Milk, Fish with Milk or achar (Pickle) with Milk , Honey with Ghee (Butter), Milk with salt, Milk with fruits specially Vitamin C containing fruits. These are opposite foods and if taken together, they produce slow toxins in our body.
  • Using cold drinks and cold water when you are in stress or after intense physical activity.
  • Sudden change in skin temperature. Ayurveda has mentioned that any activity which can bring sudden change in skin temperature can trigger skin disorders.
  • Taking heavy meals in short durations without letting previous meals from getting properly digested. This also produces slow toxins which get released in the blood.
  • Having sex within one hour of consuming meals, because one hour is minimum required time for our body to secrete the juices to digest the meal. If our attention is diverted towards sex then these juices are produced in less quantity in which case the undigested food will get converted into slow poisons.
  • Normal sleeping mode takes our body into hibernation. Ayurveda texts strongly recommend avoiding any additional day time sleep except in very hot summer season.
  • We have noticed that people who are working in shift duties are more prone to vitiligo.
  • Stopping the natural Vegas (waste disposal system of our body). Stool, Urine and Semen are natural Vegas, which should not be stopped. If we are having constipation then part of the toxins present in stool gets re-absorbed in the form of slow toxins into our blood system and they come out through our skin in the form of skin diseases including Vitiligo.
  • Excessive use of vitamin C in diet.
  • Excessive use of yogurt and sea food in regular meals and lesser exposure to sunlight are some of the triggers of vitiligo .
  • It has been mentioned that using NAYA ANAJ that is new grains can also cause skin disease. You might be aware that there was a tradition of using purana annaj (seasoned grains).

It has been mentioned in texts that there are three pillars which support our body system.

  1. Aahar (Food)
  2. Nidra (Sleep)
  3. Bramcharya (Sex)

If any pillar is disturbed it can trigger vitiligo.

Sometimes doubts arise in our minds whether all the causes mentioned in texts are correct or not. It is very important to mention here that the text books where all these causes are mentioned are very sacred and reputed literature. In these books it has been mentioned that herb like Arjuna is good for heart disease, Rasna and Shalaki are good for joint pain, Bakuchi is good for vitiligo, Ashwagandha is good for immune disorders and so on and all these claims have been scientifically proven in modern medicine.

So if the treatment mentioned in a book is scientifically correct even today, then causes of diseases mentioned should not be discounted

What we have observed in our clinical practice is that a person who is consumes healthy food (preferably Indian food or native food ), lives stress free life, and has no sleep issues is less likely to be effected by Vitiligo, even though he might be having a family history of Vitiligo.

We have noticed in our practice that Vitamin C has no or very little role in triggering Vitiligo.

We advise Indian food for Indian patients as some herbs like ajinomoto in Chinese food can trigger allergic reactions and vitiligo.

According to modern science Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder which is triggered by many external as well as internal factors.

Some of internal causes are:

  • Positive family history of disease.
  • Presence of infection in body
  • Gastric and liver related problems
  • Blood group B and AB
  • Pregnancy
  • Acute illness
  • Death of near and dear in family
  • Stressful conditions
  • Copper and Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Pollution
  • Preservative containing foods
  • Irregular life style.
  • Indiscriminate use of antibiotics oxytetracycline/ciprofloxacin/streptomycin

Some of the common external causes are :

  • Long term contact with rubber shoes or nylon clothes can cause chemical irritation to skin and trigger the disorder.
  • Pressure and friction of tight clothes / watches / undergarments has been found to a trigger in many cases.
  • Contact with Photograph developing solution.
  • Radiation from T.V
  • Artificial Jewellery
  • Injury to skin