Love Your Skin: Vitiligo

I chose to write on this topic due to the fact that I have had a skin problem for my entire adolescent life. It hasn’t been severe or serious but I’ve lived with spots on my face that has subjected me to a life with low self-esteem and self doubt. A few years ago I ran into an old High School friend whom I noticed had changed, she had a white patch along her chin. I thought she had been burnt but later realised she had Vitiligo. Recently she posted a video on her Facebook page that really forced me to do some research on what causes this skin condition. Below is some information I collected on the condition, I hope it sheds some light.

Vitiligo (pronounced vit-ill-EYE-go) is a pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes (the cells that make pigment) in the skin are destroyed. As a result, white patches appear on the skin in different parts of the body. Similar patches also appear on both the mucous membranes (tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose) and the retina (inner layer of the eyeball). The hair that grows on areas affected by vitiligo sometimes turns white.

The cause of vitiligo is not known, but doctors and researchers have several different theories. There is strong evidence that people with vitiligo inherit a group of three genes that make them susceptible to depigmentation. The most widely accepted view is that the depigmentation occurs because vitiligo is an autoimmune disease – a disease in which a person’s immune system reacts against the body’s own tissues. People’s bodies produce proteins called cytokines that, in vitiligo, alter their pigment-producing cells and cause these cells to die. Another theory is that melanocytes destroy themselves. Finally, some people have reported that a single event such as sunburn or emotional distress triggered vitiligo; however, these events have not been scientifically proven as causes of vitiligo.

Vitiligo is not transmittable; people cannot catch it from each other.
Less than 1% of the population is affected by the appearance of Vitiligo in their skin, meaning, it is not too common. It has no age, sex or ethnic discrimination, but studies have concluded that a larger percentage of the cases has been detected starting the age of 20.

NonSegmental Vitiligo

It is the most common type of vitiligo and occurs in up to 90% of the people who have this disorder.
In non-segmental vitiligo, the patches often become visible equally on both sides of the body, with some kind of symmetry. These unusual symmetrical patches most commonly appear on skin that is exposed daily to the sun, such as the face, neck, and hands, but it also appears on these other areas:
 backs of the hands
 arms
 eyes
 knees
 elbows
 feet
 mouth

Segmental Vitiligo

Segmental Vitiligo has a different form of appearance. This condition spreads more rapidly, but is considered more constant and stable than non segmental. It is definitively much less common, and it affects only about 10% of people with this condition. But unpredictably, segmental vitiligo is more noticeable in the early ages affecting about 30% of the children that have been diagnosed with vitiligo.

It is non-symmetrical and usually tends to affect dorsal roots of the spine. It is more stable, less erratic, and responds well to topical treatments.

A few Celebrities have spoken out about having this condition after accusations of skin bleaching, the late Micheal Jackson as well as Tamar Braxton-Herbert. A face embracing her condition though is Winnie Harlow, a contestant on Americas Next Top Model.

Tamar Braxton

MJ 2012 thriller vitiligo



Compiled by: ZaneleMash


Fierce, Fun-loving and Funky!

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Beauty & Skin

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