Vitiligo is a rare skin disorder that affects production of melanin, a pigment that gives color to our skin, leading to depigmentation or loss of skin color, causing pale patches. Vitiligo is considered an auto-immune condition in which the body’s immune system rejects and attacks its own melanin producing cells (melanocytes).

Stigma and embarrassment! These words sum up the daily trauma of most people living with vitiligo. While vitiligo is not infectious, nor life-threatening, it can severely affect one’s self-esteem, given the needless social stigma attached to this condition. It can be a life-changing experience for the patient, leading to anxiety, embarrassment and depression, and often even the family is subjected to social stigmatization. The only way to fight this stigma is to raise awareness about this largely harmless skin condition by busting the myths surrounding vitiligo. So here some common myths about vitiligo and the corresponding facts that nail those misconceptions:

Myth: Vitiligo strikes only dark-skinned people or those who have mixed-race parents.

Fact: While vitiligo might be more noticeable among people with dark skin, it can affect people of all races and skin colour

Myth: Vitiligo is contagious.

Fact: Vitiligo is a skin condition, not an infection. Hence, it is not contagious at all!

Myth: Vitiligo can be cured.

Fact: While there are some creams and other treatments including UV light therapy, surgical skin and cellular grafts, besides medications to control or slow down the spread of vitiligo patches, there is no cure for the condition available at present.

Myth: Vitiligo is not treatable.

Fact: Modern medicine offers a clutch of treatment options for vitiligo, including medications like systemic immune suppressants, topical steroids, phototherapy, besides surgical options like split-thickness skin grafting and melanocyte transfer. Of course, the treatments are long drawn-out and it’s extremely critical to care for the mental health of the patient because of the unfortunate stigma attached.

Here are some tips for optimum health in people with vitiligo

  1. Skin care. Use sunscreens during sunny days to avoid sun damage. SPF 30 or higher is recommended.
  2. Wear loose cotton clothes, sunhat, sunglasses and keep in the shade.
  3. Adopt a nutrient rich diet. A plant based diet rich in antioxidants and low in inflammatory foods like processed meats and sugary drinks
  4. Take supplements rich in antioxidant activity such as omega 3, gingko biloba, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin D
  5. Most of all, go for counselling and get support from family and close friends to keep your mental health intact.

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