Vitiligo is a skin disorder where white patches of depigmentation develop on the skin and keep enlarging. This disorder is long-term and continuous in nature. The patches appear due to the death of melanocytes within the skin. Melanocytes are skin pigment producing cells, which produce melanin. Vitiligo can affect the skin of several areas, including the eyes, hair and the portion inside the mouth.
You may recognise model and musician Darius Vernon from last night’s episode of The Davina Hour. We caught up with him to find out everything he wants you to know about vitiligo.
Last night he appeared on The Davina Hour on W (BT TV Channel 311) to talk about how the skin condition has affected his self-esteem. If you missed it, you can catch up using the BT TV player.
We spoke to Darius to find out everything he wants you to know about vitiligo.
Does stress cause vitiligo? Can sun exposure cause vitiligo to spread? The internet is full of information – and misinformation – about vitiligo. That’s why we’re turning to the experts for answers to the most-asked questions and myths about vitiligo today.
A board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Nada Elbuluk is an Assistant Professor at the USC Keck School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology. She’s also a well-known dermatologist within the vitiligo community, regularly taking part in national and international vitiligo research and patient conferences. Here’s what she had to say about these frequently asked questions about vitiligo.
Vitiligo is a medical condition, which causes the loss of skin color due to loss of pigmentation. This usually occurs in blotches and looks very unsightly. Vitiligo is very unpredictable and can affect any part of your body. In some cases it also affects the inside of the mouth, eyes, and hair. Vitiligo is more noticeable on people with darker skin tone.
If you see continual and long-term white patches of depigmentation on your skin, it could be vitiligo. Vitiligo is a condition that appears when melanocytes in your skin are no more alive. This bunch of cells is responsible for producing the melanin pigment that endows the skin with its colour as well as protects it from the harmful UV rays. The area which may be affected by this dermatological disease varies from person to person, and it can also affect the hair, mouth and eyes as well. In most cases, the vitiligo affected area stays discoloured for the rest of the patient’s life.
Various types of vitiligo and their symptoms
Scientists have classified vitiligo into two types: segmental and non-segmental. The non-segmental vitiligo is the most common variant and 90 percent of vitiligo affected patients suffer from this kind of disorder. In this disease, the patches take place with little symmetry on both sides of the body. It can be further broken down into 5 sub-divisions.
Vitiligo is a disorder that causes your melanocytes to stop producing pigment, which can cause your skin to develop lighter spots. It’s possible to have only one tiny area with depigmentation or larger patches that grow over time. Because vitiligo has much in common with other skin illnesses, your doctor will need to examine you thoroughly to make a diagnosis. They might also order a blood draw or eye test for more definitive answers. Then, once you’ve been diagnosed, you can work with your doctor to create a treatment plan.
1. You probably have a leaky gut and low stomach acid
Leaky gut, A.K.A. intestinal permeability, is the microscopic loss of the integrity of your intestinal lining. In other words, it’s teeny tiny holes in the lining of your intestine.
Dr. Weil describes leaky gut this way:
Leaky gut is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity….(source)
Your intestinal lining gets damaged by a combination of one or more of the following:
Poor diet (excessive sugar intake or alcohol consumption), lack of good bacteria, antibiotics and medications (including OTC meds such as aspirin or ibuprofen), chronic inflammation, and food sensitivities.
Vitiligo is a skin disorder that occurs when melanocytes or pigment cells stop producing melanin which leaves white patches over the affected areas. It’s not a fatal disease, however, it can cause psychological ailments due to the stigmatization and confrontational behavior the sufferer experiences due to their unconventional looks.
It is estimated that 100 million worldwide are afflicted with the skin disorder. Nonetheless, though there is no cure, there are treatments for the skin disease such as topical creams and ointments which can produce pigment in the skin, laser treatments which act as a light therapy and work best on dark-skinned patients, and surgery although the healing can be uneven across the skin which can look like scarring.
As a young woman living with vitiligo, I can unequivocally say: mental health is no joke.
I’ve had vitiligo for eight years. When I was first diagnosed with the condition, I hid. I wore long sleeves despite the hot Floridian sun and never left the house without makeup. I carried shame and embarrassment every day, and it prevented me from living a healthy and wholesome life. After a long – and still evolving – journey to self-love, I’ve found a few practices that have allowed me to become and remain mentally healthy.