A few weeks ago, actress Countess Vaughn shared on social media that she was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin condition that causes certain patches of skin to lose its pigmentation. The rare disease impacts 1 in 100 people.
But what do you really know about vitiligo? What increases your risk of developing it? How does it impact Black women? No worries, we got you.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Countess Vaughn Was Recently Diagnosed With VitiligoSource:Getty
A few weeks ago, actress Countess Vaughn shared on social media that she was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin condition that causes certain patches of skin to lose its pigmentation. The rare disease impacts 1 in 100 people. But what do you really know about vitiligo? What increases your risk of developing it? How does it impact Black women? No worries, we got you. Here’s what you need to know.
2. In Her Own Words
The “227,” “Moesha” and “The Parkers” actress told her fans, ” “Loving me regardless of my skin Situation.”
3. Vitiligo Is All About The MelaninSource:Getty
Melanin, you know that thing we take so much pride in, determines our skin and hair color. But for those with vitiligo, the melanin cells either stop functioning as well or plain out die. It can leave patches of melanin-free skin all over your body, mostly where your skin is most exposed to the sun.
4. Signs Of VitiligoSource:Getty
There are some early symptoms of the skin disorder, which include the following: Patchy loss of skin color; premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard; loss of tissue inside your mouth and nose; and even loss or change of color in your retina, the inner layer of your eye. If you start to notice these things, make an important with a doctor STAT.
5. There Are Three Types Of This Skin DisorderSource:Getty
Vitiligo comes in three different types: Generalized, segmental and localized. Generalized, the most common type, is when the discolored patches often progress similarly on corresponding body parts. Segmental tends to occur on one side of the body at a younger age, progress for a year or two, and then go away. Finally, localized happens on one or a few parts of the body.
6. Vitiligo Can Happen To AnyoneSource:Getty
Yes, those with darker skin with vitiligo tend to be more visible, which gives the impression that this only impacts people of color, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Anyone, regardless of race and ethnicity can develop this disorder.
7. What Causes Vitiligo?Source:Getty
The following can cause the skin disorder: When your immune system attacks and destroys the melanin cells in the skin, when there is a family history or the disorder is a result of a triggered event such as sunburn, stress or exposure to industrial chemicals.
8. It’s Not Life Threatening, But Can Take An Emotional Toll
Vitiligo does have complications such as sunburn and skin cancer, eye problems like inflammation of the iris and hearing loss. But it’s not life threatening. However, for women of color with vitiligo, self-esteem issues and emotional distress can be overwhelming.
9. Don’t Worry, It’s Not ContagiousSource:Getty
People with vitiligo cannot transmit it to you by touch or any other means, that’s just not how it works. In no way is it contagious.
10. It’s Not Curable, But It Can Be TreatedSource:iOne
The bad news: There is no real cure for vitiligo. But are ways to treat it including anti-inflammation crèmes, light therapy, skin and blister grafting and even removing your pigment all together. However, results vary by person.
11. There Are Innovative Treatments In The WorksSource:Getty
Researchers from the Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center at UMass Medical School plan on conducting a clinical trial using UV light therapy that has helped “reverse” the skin disorder on certain parts of their patients’ bodies. There are also docs working on genetic treatments that aim to help bring the pigmentation back to the skin. To the future.