Living with Vitiligo

Living with Vitiligo | Spectrum Dermatology, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona

Living with Vitiligo

Michael Jackson made vitiligo a household word, but this disease actually impacts quite a few people. Today, some models are making a name for themselves partially because they’re owning and showcasing the results of vitiligo, but for many sufferers, it remains a disease that makes them feel self-conscious. Vitiligo makes the skin “lose color” in blotches, and the rate and extent of vitiligo can vary drastically person to person. It can happen anywhere on the body, including inside the mouth.

Our skin color is caused by melanin. With vitiligo, the cells that produce melanin stop working or die. Vitiligo isn’t dangerous, but some people don’t like the aesthetics of it. Vitiligo can also happen to anyone of any skin tone, although it’s more noticeable in those with darker skin. Treatment is available to restore skin color-however, there is no treatment to stop the ongoing loss of skin color.

Vitiligo in the Making

The most obvious sign of vitiligo is the loss of skin color in patches. However, you might also notice a premature whitening of your hair (including eyelashes and eyebrows). The retina of your eye might also lose or change color. Most people start noticing signs of vitiligo after they are 20 years old. You might have it all over your body, on just one side of the body, or in just a few areas of the body (also known as localized vitiligo).

Although there is no cure for vitiligo and it’s not dangerous, some people see a dermatologist because it causes self-esteem issues. Nobody knows for certain what causes it, but theories include an immune system disorder, genetic disorders, and triggering events (such as sunburns). One of the rare side effects may include eye problems like iritis or skin cancer.

Those with vitiligo may also be at an increased risk of skin cancer, making those annual skin checks even more important. If you have vitiligo and have concerns about eye issues, skin cancer, or simply want aesthetic solutions, book an online appointment with Spectrum Dermatology today. Call (480) 948-8400 to get started.