CARING FOR ALBINISM

It is not their fault that they are albinos! It is rather congenital that anyone with the right parental genetic predisposition can inherit this tendency.  Albinism results from an error in the production of melanin despite normal numbers of melanocytes. Melanin is directly responsible for the pigmentation of the skin, hair and eyes. Most commonly albinism is inherited from previous generations of family with each parent having an albinism gene to give to their children.   Thus the albinos are not different from you and I, apart from their striking features including; very light and pale skin, light brown to pale blue eyes, very light blonde and brown hair. Albinos face a range of health care issues ranging from mental health problems to dermatological and ophthalmological problems.

The absence of pigmentation in albinism predisposes individuals to skin cancer and other health problems caused by their susceptibility to ultraviolet radiation.  Despite the anomaly, there is no existing cure for albinism and therefore, the goal of therapy is mainly prevention of skin diseases and management of vision problems among other issues.

The effective care for albinos is protection against environmental aggressors, the skin and eyes require the utmost care. Skincare with albinism requires a comprehensive approach in order to prevent further damage and keep it healthy.

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against both UVA and UVB radiations with a minimum SPF 30 every day and every hour. The sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas of the body at least 30 minutes before stepping outside. It should be reapplied every 1-2 hours to ensure the effectiveness and provide adequate protection against ultraviolet radiation.  Besides applying sunscreen regularly, throughout the day, wear sun-protective clothing like; large brimmed hats, sunglasses, long sleeved shirts and pants.  Stay away from direct sun as much as possible especially during peak hours between 1100hrs to 1600hrs.

Pick out mild and gentle cleansers. It is critically important that you use very gentle cleansers to maintain a healthy balance of skin oils. Once you skip cleansing your skin, you leave behind a residual film that harbors bacteria and other micro-organisms to grow and thrive. Avoid using harsh soaps that contain abrasive ingredients that strip your skin of its natural oils and moisture which can lead to dryness, irritation and cause further skin sensitivity. Instead search for a mild, fragrance free formula that balances your skin moisture. Cleanse your face no more than twice daily and if you’re a makeup user, then make sure to gently double cleanse your face every night to remove all the impurities and residue from your skin to avoid breakouts.

Exfoliate your facial skin carefully. Abrasive scrubs with large particles can cause micro-tears in the skin and can lead to further sensitivity. You must opt for gentle exfoliating solutions. Avoid exfoliating the areas around your eyes, and if you experience any redness or irritation, stop exfoliating and consult your dermatologist.

Don’t forget to hydrate your skin. A hydrated skin can better protect itself from external aggressors, so use hydrating products suitable for sensitive skin. Products with ceramides and soothing ingredients like aloe Vera and chamomile, help to moisturize, cool and calm your skin.

Following the above skin care tips, your albinism skin can remain comfortable, protected, and well maintained throughout your lifetime.



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