4 Tips for Living with Vitiligo
The skin is our largest organ as it covers the entire human body from head to foot. As such, it is often one of the first things that we notice when we look at ourselves in the mirror. While a pimple or two may be brushed off as a by-product of an excessively oily face or the wrong choice of facial cleanser, some white patches that innocently start of as small, inconspicuous ones, and eventually spread and grow bigger in coverage, may be a sign of a condition that has been ailing roughly about 0.5 to 1.0 percent of the global population: vitiligo.
Characterized by non-functioning skin cells that fail to produce melanin, the pigment that is responsible for our skin color, vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder that, though painless and non-contagious, may cause a significant extent of emotional damage to the person suffering from it. This pigmentary disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or race. It is associated with autoimmunity (wherein the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells thinking they are some form of infection) and is speculated to be of genetic origin.
While vitiligo is seen to be a dermatologic condition that affects a person’s physical appearance, the social and emotional impact of this disease is another story. Fortunately, more and more people who suffer from this life-altering condition are now gaining enough courage to let society view them under their watchful lenses. Aside from turning to vitiligo treatment options, patients deal with this chronic skin condition and carry on with their lives in different ways, such as:
Starting off with self-acceptance
Seeking acceptance in the hopes of fitting in seems to be second nature to most humans. Where people conform to the norm of makeups and lipstick trends, you may have thought of hiding yourself and shunning away from the spotlight. Doing this, however, not only affects your social life but also damages your self-esteem. Instead, choose to look at yourself in the mirror and see a unique being whose self-acceptance can create a positive ripple effect.
Reaching out to people
Having a skin condition like vitiligo may drive you to choose isolation instead of reaching out to your family and friends. Veer away from this instinct and literally reach out to touch your loved ones. Your courageous action can literally break myths (such as contagion) and shatter the social stigma.
Building a support system
Chantelle Brown-Young is no longer the sole runway model that has flaunted her vitiligo-affected skin. In fact, there is more talk now about people who have vitiligo and how being comfortable in their own skin, so to speak, has created a community of people that raise awareness about celebrating their condition, instead of seeing it as a hindrance.
Maintaining a strong and positive outlook
A familiar quote, “half the battle is won in the mind”, has never been so on point, especially if you are among the people who live with vitiligo on a daily basis. Finding ways to remind yourself that you will get past the challenges, feeding your body right, and gathering as many uplifting thoughts as you can, takes you one step closer to winning your battles, one day at a time.