Answer to the question “what causes vitiligo?” can be complicated. The most common one is the inheritance, because people who have others sufferers of vitiligo in their family, or any related autoimmune disease are more likely at risk of having vitiligo. However inheritance is not the complete answer. As you know the identical twins, who possesses exactly same DNA, do not always both get the vitiligo. Indeed the chances are only 23%. So if inheritance is not the major contributor of vitiligo, then the chance that an identical twin of any sufferer would get it might be the same as any other person getting it, i.e. about 1% only. So 23% is really very high.
If genes are not the entire story, what else are the factors? This has been discovered for many other autoimmune disorders as well, and generally the response is “environmental factors”. However what are they? Most scientists and clinicians think that they are viruses, which we are usually exposed to and trigger our immune system, so viruses are good candidates. But it is never confirmed so we have to look for other factors.
In 1939 a very interesting environmental factor was discovered in large proportion of leather factory workers who developed vitiligo. They wore rubber gloves for protection against chemicals. However the chemical (monobenzyl or its ether of hydroquinone) contained by those gloves found to be the real culprits. In fact it is so potent contributor that it is now used to strip the remaining pigment from widespread vitiligo sufferers, to make it even. David Paltraw prescribe in vitiligo miracle review as Benoquin Cream.
This incident strongly raised an investigation for many other chemicals and products that contain them. The experts discovered some new chemical that causes vitiligo, such as;
- 4-TBP or 4-tertiary-butyl phenol found in adhesives
- 4-TBC or 4-tertiary-butyl catechol found in rubber or many other products
All of them are phenols, i.e. they contain benzene ring attached with hydroxyl group. They strongly mimic the amino acid tyrosine, another phenol which is a foundation block used by the melanocytes to make pigment melanin to injure them and consequently causes autoimmunity and inflammation which induces vitiligo or make it worst.
Recently cosmetic company Kanebo sold highly effective skin lightening cream to 1000s of prospects, out of that 18000 developed vitiligo. It was found that rhododenol, an active phenol just like tyrosine was there in the product that was responsible of inducing vitiligo. Further it was found that skin whitening industry is the major contributor for vitiligo. Therefore it is best if you we use natural herbal products for both skin whitening as well as to cure vitiligo.