|Some Facts About Vitiligo|
|World Vitiligo Day 2022 Theme|
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease where the immune system of your body attacks the healthy pigment cells called melanocytes. This condition can affect a person’s face or any part of the body. It is characterised by white patches on the skin because the skin pigment that gives colour to your skin, dies off. While vitiligo is widely considered amongst the common skin disorders to occur, there are several myths associated with it. Once we learn more about the disease, we shall find out the truths and significance of celebrating World Vitiligo Day.
Vitiligo signs and symptoms are usually noticeable before the age of 30. It can start at any age and depending on the type, it varies in effect. Vitiligo early symptoms include white patchy skin. You may first notice it on the hands, face, and genitals. Some other alarming signs are premature whitening or greying of body hair, including beard, eyelashes, and eyebrows. You notice loss of original skin tone and colour loss in the tissues inside the mouth and nose.
In case of universal vitiligo, nearly all skin surfaces are discoloured. In the most common generalised vitiligo type, several body parts have discoloured patches and it progresses on the corresponding body parts. There is also segmental vitiligo, affecting one side or part of the body, mostly at a younger age. The localised (focal) vitiligo is seen on one or a few areas of the body. Further, acrofacial vitiligo affects the face and hands, particularly around the eyes, nose and ears.
As soon as you notice any of the above symptoms, you must consult a doctor. It is difficult to say how this disease will progress. The patches may stop spreading without treatment. In some cases, pigment loss spreads fast to most of the skin. Occasionally, the skin may also get its colour back.
Vitiligo is caused due to the lack of a pigment called melanin, responsible for your skin colour. If someone has vitiligo, he or she has fewer or dead melanocytes which cause the appearance of white patches on the skin or hair. Vitiligo can cause certain other complications, including skin becoming more prone to sunburn, eye problems [inflammation of the iris and the middle layer of the eye (uveitis)], and a partial loss of hearing.
These are some of the factors that may increase the risk of developing vitiligo:
- If any of your family members have it
- If there is a family history of any other autoimmune condition
- If you have any other autoimmune condition and skin cancer
- If you have altered genes linked to non-segmental vitiligo
- Due to the release of chemicals from the nerve endings in the skin
- Due to any trauma caused to the skin
Some Facts About Vitiligo
Here are a few truths related to vitiligo and we must spread the word:
- People with vitiligo disorder are not lesser in their mental or physical proficiencies in any way. Vitiligo is entirely limited to the skin.
- Vitiligo does not get worse by eating certain combinations of foods. There is no connection between food and this condition.
- People with dark complexions are not the only ones to get vitiligo. It is a disease that’s capable of affecting all skin types and tones.
- Vitiligo cannot be cured by using any oil on your affected skin area or taking certain supplements.
- The condition is not related to leprosy or albinism. It is an autoimmune disorder in which melanocytes are killed and causes skin discolouration.
- Vitiligo is not a contagious disease nor is it infectious. It does not spread on coming in contact with an affected person.
World Vitiligo Day 2022 Theme
World Vitiligo Day is celebrated on June 25 to raise people’s awareness regarding the disease and help remove the stigma. People who are diagnosed with vitiligo often lack confidence, avoid social gatherings and are low on self-esteem, particularly if it affects areas of skin that are frequently exposed. Keeping this in mind, the theme for World Vitiligo Day 2022 has been decided to be ‘Learning to Live with Vitiligo.’
There are certain treatments for vitiligo, such as steroid and camouflage creams and phototherapy but it is usually a permanent condition. While it isn’t clear what can prevent the disease, you must be careful about certain things like applying sunscreen alway; avoiding dye/ colours and tattoos; keeping your immune system healthy; including vitamins B and C, folic acid, copper, and zinc in your diet; drinking water; eating enough fruits and green leafy vegetables; and limiting the intake of anti-inflammatory foods. It is difficult to live with vitiligo and it may affect your mental health largely. However, World Vitiligo Day is a special day to talk about the disease and have a positive outlook towards life regardless of this or any other condition.