The topic of Vitiligo came to me after seeing a patient who was newly diagnosed with this skin condition. Vitiligo is an auto-immune condition- which means, that your own body’s cells decide not to follow the rules and starts to attack the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is a substance in the skin that gives us our colour. The condition can affect any part of your body from your face to your toes.
It can be quite striking when you see an person with vitiligo. You may have never encountered anyone with it or you may have the condition yourself. It only affects a small proportion of society ~1%. About half of people with vitiligo develop the condition under the age of 20 years.
I’m sure you will recall all the articles written about Michael Jackson and the theories surrounding his skin change from ‘black to white’. Rumours circulated that he may have had vitiligo and possibly underwent the ‘depigmentation’ treatment. This treatment would remove any other remaining melanin cells in areas where the skin was black, to give him a uniform colour- being the colour the same as the patches of Vitiligo, thus having the appearance of being ‘white’. Some individuals could choose to do this if the vitiligo patches are extensive. It can affect any part of your body from your face down to your toes.
Remember Vitiligo can affect any race, not just black. Even if you are white or asian, you can still have patches of vitiligo that are noticeably different to your original skin tone. Having a potentially noticeable skin condition which can be extensive often creates a large amount of social anxiety and can lead to depression and feeling excluded from society.
If you are worried about Vitiligo or any other skin condition make sure you see your doctor to get a diagnosis. There are many good treatments out there including UV light.
There are cosmetic camouflage or make-up treatments available to. Eryca Freemantle is an expert in camouflage makeup inspired by her own experiences after an accident. Check out her website. She gives tips and carries out seminars all over the world on how to cover up and look good.
The Vitiligo Society and http://www.changingfaces.org.uk are also good resources.
As a NubianSister I respect each person as an individual regardless of what they look like. Most of what others reject are things which they do not know or understand. Thats why I am on a mission to educate!