Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition, causing pigment differentiation on the skin. Its affects include visible patches of light and dark colour to the skin, typically more apparent on darker skin tones. There is currently no cure for Vitiligo and the effects are still unknown.
Skin affected by Vitiligo can often be obvious, with a whitish appearance that starts to form on the body. Sun-exposed areas are commonly one of the first to become evident, the main areas affected are the hands, hair, eyes, and mouth.
Melanin, also known as Melanocytes, is a pigment which provides the skin its colour. Depigmentation happens when the skin cells doesn’t produce any Melanin.
The Causes and Types of Common and Segmental Vitiligo
There are two types of Vitiligo – Common Vitiligo and Segmental Vitiligo.
The differences between both types are that Segmental Vitiligo is distinct as it only appears in one area of the skin, usually, it is the size of an adult’s palm of their hand. The Segmental kind is typical in younger ages, and it does not spread to other others.
However, in the common type of Vitiligo, the colour of white spots and patches extend to other areas on the skin over time but commences in the one remote area at first.
Both kinds of Vitiligo are diagnosed medically with a doctor’s examination. Blood tests are normally conducted to check any autoimmune diseases, which is thought that could be the cause of Vitiligo in people.
The symptoms for people with Vitiligo are particularly more common in their twenties or thirties. However, younger, or older ages can also see symptoms of the disease.
Treatments for Vitiligo to Help Restore Skin Pigmentation
People who have Vitiligo can find the disease extremely difficult to live with, as the skin’s appearance is irregular in colour and effects the more visible areas of the body.
There is some relief to people with Vitiligo, with various treatments for vitiligo available, they help minimise the visual appearance and colour inconsistency of the skin.
Makeup products can assist to disguise the discoloring of the skin, using coverup and concealment powder or cream is an effective short-term way to apply daily.
Treatments may be used to improve the affected areas of the discolouration, such as cortisone creams, ointments, and other medications like tacrolimus, pimecrolimus or calcipotriol. Another option is light therapy, which can improve the colour consistency of the skin.
Surgery can also be an option with a re-pigmentation procedure, by transferring pigment cells to one area of the skin to the affected Vitiligo areas of the skin cells.
Treatment options should be discussed with a qualified Dermatologist, to assist in the right products and recommendations which are the best choice for your condition of Vitiligo.
A skin specialist will advise you with formulated medicine, or other medical procedures which can help to restore the pigmentation and create a consistent skin colour.
Health Effects in People Living with the Vitiligo Disease
Vitiligo is not a painful or life-threatening disease, but it does cause people a large amount of mental and emotional stress. Due to the nature of the skin pigmentation differences, this may influence the individual in various ways, depending on the severance of their disease.
The Vitiligo Association of Australia is an organisation that helps people with Vitiligo. Offering information, guidance, and a supportive community, with events and research updates, tips, and advice.
Tutorials are available to watch, such as learning to apply makeup correctly. Fact sheets, helpful links, and videos of other people with Vitiligo to learn about their stories.
There are many support groups which are available to assist people living with Vitiligo. By talking or meeting other members who are also affected by the disease, may help your mental health, as they understand how you feel, which could make a difference to your life.