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What is vitiligo?

What is vitiligo?

7th Jan 2021

You may have heard of or have vitiligo, but you’re not 100% sure of what it is. We here at Fake Bake are here to fill you in. Vitiligo is a skin condition, medically considered an auto-immune disorder where immune cells attack melanocytes which produce the skin pigment melanin. This is what leaves us with the appearance of milky-white patches on our skin. While the patches can develop anywhere on the body, vitiligo on the face and hands are two of the most common areas.

We know we are beautiful with or without these spots, but vitiligo can cause self-consciousness. The condition is not life-threatening and it is not contagious, but it can be stressful. It can decrease self-confidence and increase emotional discomfort, especially in social settings.

Which is why we’re providing info about the condition, along with a self-care option that can help boost your comfort and confidence around others.

Vitiligo Skin Condition Explained

The skin condition of vitiligo is caused by the lack of skin pigment known as melanin. Melanin is what normally determines your hair and skin color, and vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin stop functioning properly. The condition can affect people with all skin types and colors, yet may be most noticeable for those with darker skin. 

There are two main types of vitiligo:

  • Non-segmental vitiligo: Pale patches appear on both sides of your body symmetrically
  • Segmental vitiligo: Pale patches only affect one specific area of your body

A third, and rare, type of the condition is known as complete or universal vitiligo. It occurs when the condition affects your entire body.

Vitiligo Symptoms

Pale patches may appear in any area of your body, although some areas are more common than others. Skin areas where vitiligo is most common include:

  • Vitiligo on the face, often around the mouth and eyes
  • Vitiligo on the hands, especially near fingers and wrists
  • Armpits
  • Knees, elbows and feet
  • Genital and groin areas
  • Interior of the mouth
  • Around hair roots

When the condition develops around hair roots, the lack of melanin in that area can turn the hair grey or white.

Vitiligo may start as a pale patch on the skin that eventually turns white. The patch may be white in the center, surrounded by a ring of pale skin. The patch may also appear to have a slight pink color if the skin area has blood vessels directly beneath it. 

Sometimes the patches are smooth and round, or they may have irregular shapes. They may also have a brownish discoloration, or appear inflamed and red. The patches don’t dry out your skin, but may cause occasional itchiness. The pale skin is also more susceptible to sunburn, making it crucial to use an adequate sunscreen.

Every Case Different

While these symptoms give you a general overview, vitiligo can vary widely from person to person. Some people may get large white patches that span and connect across larger skin areas. Others may only get a few small patches.

There’s no way to predict how much skin will be affected, or how. Patches may grow as the pigment loss spreads, or patches may stop forming altogether. Although the white patches of vitiligo are usually permanent, there have been cases where skin color has returned.

 Psychological Effects

Although the condition may not cause physical discomfort, research has shown it can cause significant psychological distress. More than 50% of people with vitiligo have said the condition has had a negative impact on their relationships. Others have reported thinking about their condition constantly, wondering if it will get better or fearing it will get worse.

Vitiligo has also cause:

  • Avoidance of social events and physical activities
  • Body dysmorphia
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Stress and emotional burden

Vitiligo Treatments and Self-Care

While there is significant research being done about this condition, several treatments and self-care options are available, with the choice depending on a variety of factors. These include your age, the amount and location of skin affected, the progression rate of the condition, and how vitiligo is impacting your life.

Light-based therapies and medications are two possible routes to take. They may help even-out the skin tone or restore skin color, although the side effects can be serious and the results are unpredictable.

Other options, like the Vitiligo Vanquish Kit, can provide a safer alternative. Vitiligo Vanquish by Fake Bake provides a natural-looking vitiligo camouflage created to help alleviate the psychological burden that often accompanies the condition.

An alternative to heavy makeup, the kit contains a lightweight liquid you simply brush on to hide the depigmented areas of your skin. The kit comes with everything you need to get started, including optional color drops to customize the color to make a perfect match with your skin tone.

Although we’re all beautiful with or without vitiligo spots, the Vanquish kit provides a fast and easy way to hide the spots if desired. It’s important to feel comfortable in your skin, and it gives you a way to take positive action if the condition is causing emotional discomfort. Try the Fake Bake Vitiligo Vanquish Kit today.