How to Prevent Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin condition caused by lack of ultraviolet light exposure during childhood. Vitamin D deficiency causes vitamin A and E deficiencies which cause free radical damage to the skin cells. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that have been linked together to form a larger molecule. These free radicals destroy healthy cells or even kill them outright if they get too close enough to our body’s blood vessels (the capillaries). When these free radicals damage your skin cells, it causes the appearance of white spots or patches on your face. Most often, vitiligo occurs on one side of the face first. Other times, it may occur on both sides of the face at once.
The main symptoms include:
White patches or spots appearing all over the affected area such as cheeks, nose, forehead and chin.
Tenderness and redness around the affected areas.
A reddened, scaly appearance of the affected area.
You might want to read this before reading the rest of this article! If you don’t understand anything else here, then please continue reading…
Recent studies have shown that vitiligo has a direct link to free radicals.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s internal defense mechanism attacks its very own cells by mistake. The cause of this is yet unknown, but vitiligo has been known to run in families. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules with an unpaired electron that attack healthy cells of the body by stealing an electron from them. They are formed normally as a byproduct of metabolism.
UV (ultraviolet) light from the sun can also create free radicals. These free radical molecules go on to attack healthy skin cells.
Vitiligo is curable. Treatments include topical applications of psoriasis creams such as monobenzone or steroid creams such as clobetasol propionate which help hasten skin repigmentation. Other treatments are PUVA (psoriasis ultraviolet A) therapy and surgical options including grafting or depigmentation.
So what does this mean for you?
It means if you want to prevent vitiligo from spreading, then you need to protect yourself from the sun. The best way to do this is by using a strong sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 whenever you go outside for more than a few minutes. You can also use hats, long sleeve shirts, and long pants to protect yourself from the sun. Try to avoid being outside during peak sun hours between 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Remember too that the sun’s rays are more powerful in higher altitudes and snow reflecting the rays increases your chance of sunburn, so be sure to cover up if you’re at a high altitude location or spending a lot of time on the snow.
Just as vitiligo can be prevented, it can also be cured. If you have vitiligo with white patches on your face then you need to see a doctor right away. (Trust me, it’s not a good look) They can fix it with various topical creams and ointments. The bad news is that there is no permanent fix to vitiligo as of yet.
The good news is that it doesn’t ruin your life. It’s just something that you have to put up with and it isn’t life-threatening.
If you have vitiligo and are embarrassed by the white patches on your face, you should know that you are not alone. Many people have vitiligo and many are able to cover it up really well. You can also choose to ignore it and embrace the condition. It’s your life and your face, so do whatever makes you happy.
All you need to do is make sure you protect yourself from the sun so your vitiligo doesn’t get worse. Make sure to always apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 before going outside, and wear long clothing to protect any exposed areas.
Note: The information provided here is accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing. It is not medical advice and is simply friendly advice from one person to another. If you are concerned about your skin conditions, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
Sources & references used in this article:
Vitiligo by CL Huang, JJ Nordlund, R Boissy – American Journal of Clinical …, 2002 – Springer
Tumour necrosis factor‐α inhibition can stabilize disease in progressive vitiligo by KC Webb, R Tung, LS Winterfield… – British Journal of …, 2015 – Wiley Online Library
Vitiligo update by RM Halder, JL Chappell – Seminars in …, 2009 – mdedge-files-live.s3.us-east-2 …
On the etiology of contact/occupational vitiligo by RE Boissy, P Manga – Pigment Cell Research, 2004 – Wiley Online Library
Medical and maintenance treatments for vitiligo by T Passeron – Dermatologic clinics, 2017 – derm.theclinics.com