Vitiligo (a disturbing skin disease)

Did you know that the King of Pop, the late Michael Jackson suffered from vitiligo? Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes loss of skin color in patches. The discoloured areas usually get bigger in time. The discouloring can affect any part of the body including hair and inside of the mouth. According to research, about 1% of the world’s population has vitiligo.

Vitiligo occurs when cells responsible for producing melanin stops producing them. It causes the skin to be whiter than its normal color. Growing up you may have heard of the renowned musician Michael Jackson. You may have heard that he bleached his skin to become white. Well, the singer suffered from vitiligo. He was diagnosed in 1984 and in 1993, he told the world about his condition on the Oprah Winfrey Show. The late celebrated singer bleached his to cover up the white patches that came with the disease. Vitiligo is no respecter of people and it can affect both black and white people.

Some causes of vitiligo are family history, disorder of the immune system and certain events like stress, severe sunburns and contact with a chemical. There are types of vitiligo. Universal vitiligo affects almost all skin surfaces, Generalized vitiligo is the type where discoloured patcher grow on similar body parts, Segmental vitiligo occurs at a a young age and disappears over time, Localized vitiligo affects one or few areas of the body and the Acrofacial vitiligo affects only the face and hands. Some symptoms of vitiligo are loss of skin color, premature whitening of hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and even beard and loss of color in the mouth and nose tissues. Vitiligo is not the same as albinism and it is not contagious. People suffering from vitiligo live active and healthy lives. However, most of them suffer from depression, low self esteem, anxiety among others. Some of them also see their condition as disfigurement of their bodies and do not like to be seen by others. So next time you see someone with vitiligo, don’t shy away from the person. Remember vitiligo is not contagious, after all you never know what a “hi” will do for that person.

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