Question 17. Should I take topical or oral...?

Question 17. Should I take topical or oral antioxidants for vitiligo?

Key points

  • There is some growing evidence supporting oral antioxidants supplementation, specifically associated with UVB irradiation of the skin.
  • There are no defined dosing parameters and side effects profiles studies on antioxidants oral supplementation in vitiligo subjects.
  • Polypodium Leucotomos (a fern of the American subtropics) , Ginkgo Biloba, cucumis melo, alpha lipoic acid, vitamins C and E, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phenylalanine and other natural substances have been orally consumed with the purpose of elevating systemic catalase activity in the blood and, thus, decreasing the levels of reactive oxygen species.
  • Recently, curcumin alone, or in combination with capsaicin and resveratrol, has been shown to affect vitiligo actively.

There is a clear inclination of the experts in the field of vitiligo research towards considering the appearance and progression of white patches as being related to a global imbalance in the activity of the scavenger mechanism (s), which decreases the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), both in blood and in skin of the vitiligo patients.

Thus, both local and systemic use of substances that are able to decrease the levels of reactive oxygen species have been repeatedly proposed.
Most of these substances are mentioned in the Key points section of this paragraph. In general, while some studies show remarkably good results in repigmentation after the use of local or systemic “natural antioxidants”, other studies show no benefits.

The Dermatological Scientific Community seems to encourage both oral and local use of the “natural antioxidants” for treating vitiligo.
Nevertheless, defined dosing parameters, double-blind consistent studies on efficacy and safety profiles of these natural substances have yet to be clarified.

Author: Prof. Torello Lotti, MD

Please be advised that all information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner. Users are warned against changing any aspects of their treatment, diet or lifestyle based on this information without first consulting a registered medical practitioner. While every precaution is taken to ensure accuracy, VR Foundation makes no warranty as to the reliability, accuracy, timeliness, usefulness or completeness of the content which reflect personal opinion of the authors.

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