Have you ever wondered why your skin and hair color differ from someone else? The answer to this is simple: melanin. The amount of melanin in your skin and hair determines its overall color; the more melanin, the deeper the color.
Vitiligo is a skin disorder caused by the loss of melanin and occurs in the form of patches. These patches may or may not grow over the years; however, patients suffering from Vitiligo often complain about the occurrence of new patches. It can occur anywhere but is commonly seen in areas such as the head, face, neck, and hands.
Due to a lack of understanding and superstitious beliefs, there has been a considerable amount of misunderstanding about vitiligo. Today, we will be sharing four myth-busting facts about vitiligo that you must know about.
4 Facts About Vitiligo Everyone Should Know About
1. It is not contagious
A common misconception about vitiligo is that it could spread by contact, but that is not true. However, in some cases, it is influenced by your genetics and family history. Vitiligo is more common in individuals who have a family history of the disorder or in those who have autoimmune diseases such as pernicious anemia or Addison’s disease.
2. It is physically painless
Vitiligo is a completely painless skin condition. It only affects the skin and hair color due to a lack of melanin. However, seeing their appearance change by the day causes a lot of emotional and psychological trauma, which could lead to anxiety and depression. Vitiligo patients, although they don’t go through any physical pain, have a lot to deal with in mentally challenging situations and might need therapy to deal with the stress this condition brings with it.
3. It is different from leprosy
Vitiligo has often been confused with leprosy on account of how similar they look in appearance. During ancient times, it was also referred to as sweta kushta, or white leprosy, which made it even more confusing. However, it is now clear that there is no similarity between the two except for their appearances.
Leprosy is a contagious skin disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae that can spread by contact. Vitiligo, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder caused by a decrease in melanin (pigment-producing skin cells also known as melanocytes) in the skin.
4. Anyone can get vitiligo
Previously, or in ancient times, it was believed that people with deeper skin tones were the only ones affected by this skin disease, but that is not true. This misconception arose because vitiligo is more noticeable in brown or deeper skin tones than in those with lighter skin. However, it was simply a misconception that no longer exists. With time, we’ve all familiarized ourselves with the fact that vitiligo can happen to anyone, irrespective of skin color, ethnicity, race, caste, or creed.
With so many myths and misconceptions around vitiligo, people often misunderstand it and think of it as a contagious disease. Therefore, through this blog, we wanted to address these misconceptions, their effect on one’s mental health, and how we can make a difference by spreading awareness. Vitiligo can happen to anyone, so let us be kind to those suffering from it and make them feel loved and accepted.