What kind of life is that for a boy who looks like this? (Famous)
Wanting to fit in this world, but it’s just a wish
Pointing fingers, people whisper. Silhouette, of a lonely figure
Where can he go? Where can he hide? Livin’ inside, of his Vitiligo
( Lyrics from Krizz Kaliko Album “Vitiligo”)
Vitiligo pronounced (vit-ill-EYE-go) is a condition afflicting 40 – 50 million people worldwide. When someone has Vitiligo, their skin loses its pigment because melanin, the substance that produces skin color, is either not produced or is destroyed. The cause of Vitiligo is unclear, but scientists believe there may be hereditary and/or autoimmune factors involved. Some people have reported that their Vitiligo was triggered by sunburn or after an emotionally traumatic event, but this has yet to be proven.
Vitiligo treatments your doctor may try
Before any treatment, your doctor will determine if there is an underlying condition that may be causing your skin to depigment (lose its color). If there is no other condition causing you to depigment, s/he may attempt the treatments that follow.
Vitiligo treatment drugs you apply to your skin:
– This Vitiligo treatment may cause your skin to repigment, but it takes roughly 3 months before you notice any changes. Risks: Corticosteroids can cause your skin to thin or cause striping.
Vitamin D derivative (Calcipotriene)
– This is an ointment or cream that may also be used with corticosteroids or ultraviolet light. Risks: Burning, itching, rash, redness, dry skin and irritation.
– These are ointments used primarily for people with smaller areas of depigmentation on the face and neck. These ointments may be used with UVB treatments. There is a possible risk of lymphoma and skin cancer with this treatment.
PUVA (Psoralen plus ultraviolet A)
– This is a photochemotherapy vitiligo treatment. A thin coat of psoralen, a photosensitive drug, is applied to the depigmented area and is then treated with ultraviolet light. This treatment may be recommended for people with less than 20% of their skin depigmented. Risks: Severe sunburn with blistering and possible over darkening of skin which is usually temporary.
MBEH (Monobenzene ether of hydroquinone)
– This is a cream or ointment used to lighten skin. It may be recommended as a vitiligo treatment for people with large areas of depigmentation. It is designed to make the dark areas more closely blend with the depigmented areas. Risks: Redness, swelling, itching and dry skin. Since the depigmentation is permanent you will be extremely sensitive to sunlight for the rest of your life.
Other non-invasive Vitiligo treatments:
– A physician may recommend oral PUVA vitiligo treatment if more than 20% of your skin is depigmented. The drug is given orally a couple of hours before treatment with artificial UVA exposure or sunlight. Risks: May increase risk of skin cancer if treatment is long term. Children under 10 are at risk for cataracts.
UVB therapy (narrowband ultraviolet B)
– This is similar to PUVA except without psoralen. The equipment is expensive and may not be available in all dermatologists’ offices. Risks: Long term safety is undetermined.
Invasive treatments for vitiligo:
Skin Grafts –
A small portion of your own skin with normal pigment is grafted onto the depigmented area. Risks: Scarring, uneven pigmentation failure to repigment cobblestone appearance.
– This is a vitiligo treatment where your doctor creates a blister (usually by suction) on an area of pigmented skin. S/he then grafts the top of the blister to an equal sized area of depigmented skin from which the top of the blister has been removed. Risks: Area may not repigment, cobblestone appearance, scarring.
– This vitiligo treatment uses the placement of skin matching dyes into your skin with a special surgical instrument. This method is most effective for use around lips and with dark skinned people. Risks: Colors fade over time, treated area won’t tan, color match may not be right.
– Melanocytes (stem cells that produce your skin color) are harvested from your skin, cultured and then transplanted into depigmented areas.
If you have vitiligo, it doesn’t define your ability to succeed. You probably already know that Michael Jackson wrestled with vitiligo, but he’s not the only person. Other famous people include rapper Krizz Kalik, rhythm and blues singer Sisqó, “That 70s Show” star Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), and many more. We know you’re beautiful with or without vitiligo. Anyone who thinks differently is either insane or ignorant.
Tomorrow we’re going to look into natural vitiligo treatments. The day after that we’ll cover ways to camouflage vitiligo and other skin conditions including acne and rosacea.
Now go have fun and relax.