advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Leucoderma: White Around the Eyes?

What would be the best remedy for white patches that occur around the eyes? 

A
Answer (Published 12/14/2010)

The white patches you describe are sometimes called leucoderma, another term for vitiligo. These skin changes result from an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system targets melanocytes, cells that produce the pigment (melanin) that colors skin. Vitiligo seems to have a genetic component, and also tends to occur in people who have other autoimmune diseases, such as type-1 diabetes. Individuals with vitiligo often report that it began in conjunction with an illness or emotional stress, but no studies have definitively shown these to be triggering events.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor - If you are interested in supplementing your diet but don't know where to start, take Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. It is free, and provides a personalized vitamin & supplement recommendation based on your health history. Visit today!

While it can be emotionally distressing, vitiligo doesn't present a threat to general health, because the disease process remains on the surface of the body. Conventional treatment focuses on evening out skin color, usually with steroid creams or with the drug psoralen (which reacts with ultraviolet light so that skin darkens). For most patients, this involves taking psoralen as a pill or having it applied to affected areas, then exposing the skin to PUVA (ultraviolet light) in the doctor's office. PUVA is said to be up to 85% effective in more than 70% of patients with vitiligo of the head, neck, upper arms, legs, and trunk. It can take months to get good results though, and maintenance treatments are needed to keep the condition in check.

Before trying it, you might consult a hypnotherapist. Skin conditions respond well to hypnosis, and there are reports that it can lead to repigmentation in some cases.

You also might consider ginkgo biloba. A small study reported in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology in May 2003 showed that 40 mg taken three times a day seemed to stop vitiligo from progressing and in 10 cases led to marked to complete skin repigmentation. I've also read that a combination of ultraviolet therapy plus the ayurvedic herb khella (Ammi visnaga) can promote repigmentation. A study of this method was reported in the May-June 2001 issue of the European Journal of Dermatology, but I don't have any personal clinical experience with it.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here