How to Manage Vitiligo in Summer

how to manage vitiligo in summerPractically everyone is looking forward to the summer, a season associated with holidays and days spent outdoors or on the beach. For people who are suffering from vitiligo, however, summer is not exactly their favorite time of the year. That’s because the hot summer weather does nothing but aggravate their skin condition. More often than not, they stay indoors most of the time because of the intense heat of the sun. Aside from spending a lot of time indoors or seeking some shade when they have no choice but to go out under the sun, vitiligo patients will also have to give their skin some special attention to manage their condition well.

For one, they must never forget to use sunscreen every single day. Keep in mind that the white patches of vitiligo indicate the absence of melanin, which helps protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Simply put, depigmented skin burns rather easily, and that is why sunscreen is so important for vitiligo patients in the summer. If you have vitiligo, choose a sunscreen brand that says it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Apply them liberally to areas of depigmented skin that will inevitably be exposed to the rays of the sun. For the sunscreen to be fully absorbed by the skin, apply it at least 15 minutes before you head out.

It would also be smart to wear sun protection clothing when you go out. Long-sleeved shirts made of cotton or any cool and light fabric are popular choices as protection from the heat of the sun’s rays. Accessories such as hats, caps and sunglasses are also highly recommended, as they all do their part in shielding you from the intense summer heat.

If possible, do not consume too much Vitamin C, whether through juices, supplements or the fruits themselves. The reason for this is the fact that the said nutrient may inhibit melanin production. Since much of the available treatment for

vitiligo aims to repigment the skin, Vitamin C-rich food and beverages could prove to be counterproductive. Instead, consume more food and drinks that are rich in Vitamins A and B. Ingesting more of the latter, Vitamin B12 to be exact, is highly recommended especially after several studies have shown that many vitiligo patients are suffering from a Vitamin B12 deficiency.

There is a possibility that before you developed vitiligo, you had a thing for getting a tan, especially during the summer season. Now that you have white patches on the skin, do you really have to give up tanning just because you can no longer let yourself be exposed to the sun’s rays for a certain period of time? The answer to that question is no, not when there are a number of self tanners now available on the market. These tanning products do not require the UV rays of the sun to be effective. They can give anyone—people with vitiligo included—a chance to get a fabulous tan without direct exposure to the sun’s heat.

Vitiligo – How To Cope With It?

vitiligo treatment - how to cope with vitiligoVitiligo is a chronic skin condition that is marked by the appearance of white patches on the skin. Although relatively painless and non life-threatening, the white patches of vitiligo still take a toll on a sufferer’s emotional and psychological well-being because of the drastic change in appearance that they bring. It is not uncommon for vitiligo patients to experience emotional stress, particularly when the condition affects highly visible areas such as the face, neck, arms and hands. It is particularly stressful for young patients, as they are more conscious about the way they look than older patients.

Still, vitiligo patients will need to cope with the condition so they can get on living normal lives. Fortunately, there are certain strategies that may help them do just that.

If you’re a vitiligo sufferer, one of the first things you have to do is find a doctor who knows a lot about the condition. That doctor will be able to educate you on the best treatments available. While you’re at it, you can also read and learn as much as you can about vitiligo. There are books, magazines and websites that discuss vitiligo at length. Armed with such knowledge, you can make informed decisions about your own course of treatment.

It is also important to let others know about your feelings. Aside from your doctor, you should let family and friends know if those white patches are making you feel depressed. That way, they all would know that you are going through a very tough time, and that you need all the support that you can get from them. You can also go the extra mile by going to counseling. With the help of a mental health professional, you will be able to discuss

your innermost feelings and help you deal with your condition. If seeing a therapist is not your thing, maybe joining vitiligo support groups will help. Sharing your experiences and concerns with other people with the condition might prove to be therapeutic for you.

If you can’t bear the thought of going out in public with those white patches clearly visible, you always have the option to conceal them. There are several cosmetic brands in the market that are designed to hide areas that have been depigmented. Using these products temporarily balances your skin color. Using a concealer is advisable for people with limited vitiligo. As there are a number of cosmetic solutions available, you need to choose a brand or type that will suit your skin tone best. You also need to know which product will not irritate your skin or cause other skin problems. If you have no idea which brands to choose, maybe you can ask your dermatologist to recommend one for you.

Most importantly, it pays to remain positive about things despite your vitiligo. While it may be hard to maintain a positive outlook when your appearance has changed so much, it is still worth a try. Always keep in mind that your condition is neither painful nor life-threatening, and that you are more fortunate than other people with medical conditions worse than yours. Stay positive, and your self-confidence and self-esteem will certainly improve.

The Different Types of Vitiligo

different types of vitiligo

There are many different vitiligo types.

Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people the world over. The white patches on the skin that characterize the condition are due to the loss of pigment in that particular area. While the white spots can appear on any part of the body, they are more likely to develop on skin that is more commonly exposed to the sun’s rays such as the face, hands and feet.

Several theories about what causes vitiligo have already been put forth, including the idea that it’s an autoimmune disease, a hereditary condition, or caused by extreme trauma, nutritional deficiencies or too much stress. As of today, no permanent cure for the condition has been discovered, although modern science has developed several treatments that help patients manage their condition.

The severity and the course of the skin disorder may vary from patient to patient. Typically, the white patches begin appearing in a small area. As time goes by, other patches pop up. Some even see their existing patches grow larger or multiply. There are also patients whose vitiligo stays the same for a long time, while other patients experience a rapid spread of the white patches all over their body.

Different types and subtypes of vitiligo

At present, doctors recognize two main types, which are segmental and non-segmental vitiligo.

Segmental vitiligo, which is also known as unilateral vitiligo, is marked by the appearance of white patches on only one segment of the body such as an arm, a leg, or the face. This type of vitiligo often starts at an early age, develops for about a year and then stops completely. Approximately 50 percent of segmental vitiligo patients also experience some hair color loss.

Non-segmental vitiligo, on the other hand, is more common. Also referred to as bilateral vitiligo, vitiligo vulgaris and generalized vitiligo, non-segmental vitiligo is characterized by the appearance of white spots on both sides of the body.  Typically, this type of vitiligo starts appearing on fingertips, hands, wrists, on the feet or around the mouth and eyes. A person who has this type of vitiligo often experiences rapid pigment loss at the beginning, then a complete stop to the depigmentation for some time. Later on, the loss of pigment restarts, and this often becomes a lifetime cycle for the patient.

There are also several vitiligo sub-types such as acrofacial vitiligo, which is essentially depigmentation of the face, head, hands, feet or any part away from the center of the body. There is also focal vitiligo, which is characterized by the loss of color in a confined area. At the other extreme is universal vitiligo, which is basically complete or near-complete pigment loss of the entire body. It is sometimes recommended for patients who have this type of vitiligo to undergo depigmentation treatment instead so that the remaining areas of their skin that still have color will match the color of the rest of their skin.

Vitiligo Make-Up

Vitiligo makeup is a good solution to cover up the symptoms
Vitiligo is a skin condition that occurs with the death or ceasing to function of melanocytes, the cells which are responsible for the production of melanin, which is the pigment that gives us our natural skin color. Its exact cause has not been established definitively, but several theories exist, including the idea that it is an autoimmune disease, genetic in origin, or caused by excessive stress or trauma. Nutritional deficiencies are also suspected, as many vitiligo patients have been found to have lower levels of certain nutrients, Vitamin B12 in particular. Men, women and children can develop the disorder, which currently affects more than 60 million people around the world.

Modern science has yet to discover a permanent cure for vitiligo. For now, patients will have to make do with treatments that help them manage their condition. The most common of these treatments is phototherapy, which calls for the exposure of the affected areas of the skin to ultraviolet light, often in conjunction with certain medications. Corticosteroid creams and lotions are also widely used to halt the spread of the white patches, which more commonly appear on parts of the body which are more frequently exposed to sunlight.

In most cases, vitiligo patches do not cause any discomfort or pain. What they give most users in spades, however, is embarrassment. Vitiligo patients tend to be more conscious about these white patches when they appear on the face, especially around the mouth. The contrast is even more apparent on patients with darker complexions. Low self-esteem is common among vitiligo sufferers. Some even become clinically depressed because of the white spots that make their skin tone look extremely uneven.

Many vitiligo sufferers who undergo treatment also prefer to camouflage those unsightly white patches. It’s a good thing that there are now a number of cosmetic solutions for vitiligo available on the market. They come in various brands and types. There’s Dermablend, which comes in more than 20 shades that make it perfect for all types of complexions.

A slightly more expensive brand is Smart Cover , a waterproof and smudge-proof makeup as seen on TV.

 

 

 

The most expensive, but also highly effective option is  the airbrush makeup set from Dinair Studio. This product is waterbased and does not rub off at all. It has a bit of a learning curve, but a free instruction DVD is included.

While these cosmetic solutions serve their purpose well, there are also downsides to covering up those white patches. Many users complain about how time-consuming and tedious applying the makeup can get. More often than not, they find it difficult to make the makeup they are using match with their own skin tone perfectly. Male sufferers of the condition are also uncomfortable about putting on makeup. In most cases, they find the idea simply feminine or off-putting. Still, these makeup products have proven to be quite helpful in restoring the self-esteem of many vitiligo patients, both men and women alike. It is also a fact that masking the white patches with makeup is infinitely better than having to undergo something as invasive as skin grafting, a surgical procedure which involves the transplantation of normally-pigmented skin onto the affected areas.

Vitiligo or tinea versicolor?

vitiligo or tinea versicolor

It can be hard to tell the difference between vitiligo or tinea versicolor.

Vitiligo and tinea versicolor are two chronic skin disorders that are often mistaken for each other. This is not surprising, because they typically have similar symptoms. However, those who have either of them have to know for certain which condition they are suffering from in order to get the proper treatment that they need.

 The difference between vitiligo and tinea versicolor

While the two conditions may appear similar, there is no confusion as to what causes them. Vitiligo is generally regarded as an autoimmune disease, wherein the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys or disables the melanocytes, the cells which produce melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its normal color. Recent studies also suggest that it can also be hereditary in nature, or caused by certain nutritional deficiencies as well as extreme trauma or excessive stress. Tinea versicolor, on the other hand, is caused by an overgrowth of the Malassezia globosa fungus, which resides naturally on human skin. Warm and humid conditions often trigger this growth, and it more commonly occurs in people whose immune systems have been weakened. Having oily skin and sweating a lot is also a contributing factor to the fungal infection.

Among the common similarities between vitiligo and tinea versicolor is a marked discoloration of the skin. There is, however, a big difference when it comes to this particular similarity. The spots or patches on the skin of a vitiligo patient tend to be white, as they are completely depigmented. They are often found on fingers, toes, knees, around the eyes and mouth, the genitals and lower back. There is no noticeable scaling or itching. The spots on the skin of a tinea versicolor patient, on the other hand, is more like a rash that occurs mainly on the upper trunk, and are often lighter or darker that the skin around them. While these patches could appear white, they can also appear pink, red, or brown in color. They could also become dry, scaly and even itchy.

Vitiligo may affect people of any age. On the other hand, tinea versicolor is more common in teenagers and young adults.

One fortunate similarity between the two skin conditions is the fact that neither of them is contagious. Whether or not a person is suffering a mild or severe form of vitiligo or tinea versicolor does not matter, as you could not catch it from them, nor can they infect other people with their disorder.

Treatments for vitiligo and tinea versicolor

Even the available treatments for either condition vary greatly. For vitiligo, patients often resort to phototherapy, corticosteroid creams or ointments or even skin grafts to manage their condition. Meanwhile, tinea versicolor sufferers are encouraged to use topical antifungal creams, lotions or shampoos which contain substances such as selenium sulfide, miconazole, clotrimazole, and terbinafine, all of which keep the fungus under control. There are also antifungal pills for those with serious or recurrent cases of tinea versicolor. However, taking medications for the condition require the close monitoring of a doctor, as they tend to have side effects.

To be absolutely sure, the best thing to do would be to visit a dermatologist, who will conduct certain tests that will determine if the condition is vitiligo, tinea versicolor or something else.

Vitiligo and Children

children with vitiligo need support

When your child has vitiligo, your support makes a big difference.

Vitiligo may affect anyone regardless of race, gender or age. It can start at any age, but the white patches typically begin to appear between the ages of 20 and 30. However, there are cases when vitiligo starts to manifest itself in young children. As vitiligo may also be hereditary, children who develop vitiligo may have inherited the condition from a family member. In fact, about 30 percent of vitiligo patients have a family member who also has the skin condition. Then again, a very small percentage of children—about five to seven percent—will develop vitiligo even when they have a parent with the condition.

When the condition does appear in young children, parents should have it treated right away. While there is still no cure for the disorder, there are several treatments available that are designed to slow down or at least stop the spread of the white patches. It is also a fact that earlier treatment of vitiligo often yields great results, particularly in children.

So what vitiligo treatments are right for children? While there are a number of treatments for vitiligo in general, not all of them are recommended for children. The few conventional treatments that are deemed alright for kids include corticosteroid creams or ointments, the application of psoralen to the skin and phototherapy that must be closely monitored by a dermatologist for possible side effects.

The less expensive and ultimately safer route towards vitiligo treatment for children, however, should be the natural way. As vitiligo is also said to be caused by certain nutritional deficiencies, helping your children make up for those deficiencies is the logical thing to do. For instance, have them consume more green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fruits and nuts, all of which are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You would also do well to have them take health supplements, particularly those that are rich in Vitamin B12 and folic acid, both of which help in the tanning of depigmented skin.

More often than not, the psychological impact of the condition bears down on children more than anything else. While children that young may not really notice it at first, a name-calling incident at school or on the playground could make them aware of their condition, and that could lead to a lot of things, including low self-esteem. What your child is going to need from you, the parents, is support and reassurance that you will always be there for them, that you will always love them no matter what. The love and warmth provided by one’s own family will give them happiness, and that is all that would matter to a child with vitiligo.