Natural Products for Treatment of Skin and Soft Tissue Disorders

Vitiligo and Treatment Protocols

Author(s): Mehnaz Showkat, Humaira Bilal, Bilquees Bhat and Nahida Tabassum * .

Pp: 93-134 (42)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815124361123010008

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Vitiligo is an abiding acquired skin disorder caused by the epidermal disappearance of pigment cells of localized and general skin mucosa, characterized by the appearance of symmetrical patches on the skin. The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but genetic susceptibility, melanocyte growth factor deficiency, autoimmunity, and some neurological and environmental factors are believed to play a triggering role. Although no drugs are completely successful in managing this disorder, many different approaches, such as topical corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, transplantation, newly emerged phototherapy, or the combination approaches, however, have shown positive results and have helped to restore skin tone in people with small areas of depigmentation. The association of the adverse effects such as redness, itching, burning, pruritis, xerosis cutis, or potential risk of skin cancer and the high treatment cost with these therapies has necessitated the development of other newer treatment approaches such as phytotherapy for vitiligo. Also, novel drugs are being developed that either stimulate the melanocytes, like afamelanotide, or help control or protect the melanocytes. Many herbal drugs have been reported beneficial in the treatment of vitiligo, which has been shown to stimulate melanogenesis, proliferation or migration of melanocytes or have immunomodulatory properties. Further research on herbal drugs should be extended to develop safe, effective and affordable treatments for vitiligo. 

Keywords: Afamelanotide, Corticosteroids, Depigmentation, Herbal drugs, Melanocyte growth factor, Phytotherapy, Skin patches, Vitiligo.

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