What is Vitiligo? Is it dangerous and contagious?

Is it possible for our skin condition to change drastically from dark to very light or white? We would say it’s impossible! But it turns out that in the medical world, there are skin conditions like that. The change in skin color is usually not comprehensive but can take the form of patches in certain areas. We also call this condition Vitiligo. Indeed, from the outside, it will look striking and different. But is this condition dangerous? Let’s find out more about what Vitiligo is, its causes, and how to treat it!

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes the loss of pigment (melanin) from the skin, so areas of the skin lose color and appear white or very light. It occurs when the cells that produce melanin (Melanocytes), are damaged or lose their ability to produce pigment.

This condition can occur in any area of the body and can affect people of different races. However, it is most commonly found in people with darker skin. It’s not just on the skin either, some people with vitiligo also experience depigmentation of the hair, so that the hair growing in the affected area becomes white. Areas that are usually affected can be the lips, eyes, and hair.

So what causes our bodies to make such extreme changes?

Trace the Origins of Vitiligo

Actually, it is still uncertain and unclear what causes vitiligo. But there are some things that are suspected and contributing factors. Here are the suspected causes of vitiligo:

  • Genetic Factors

Vitiligo can be genetic or inherited. If there is a history of vitiligo in our family, then we are more likely to suffer from this condition!

  • Autoimmune Diseases

Vitiligo is also often linked to autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks and damages healthy cells. Some autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, or type 1 diabetes can also increase a person’s risk of developing vitiligo.

  • Sunlight Exposure (Ultraviolet Radiation)

UV rays are already our skin’s natural enemies because of their negative effects! Too much exposure can trigger skin inflammation and accelerate the process of pigment loss.

  • Chemical Exposure

Certain chemicals or substances in the environment, such as chemicals in cosmetics or skincare products, may play a role in the development of vitiligo in susceptible individuals. Make sure to be wise in using products!

  • Stress

Stress can trigger various diseases in the body. Although the mechanism is not fully understood, stressful conditions can affect the immune system, triggering reactions that aggravate the condition.

In order not to increase the risk of vitiligo, we should prevent it by maintaining internal and external body health. For example, eating nutritious food (supplement if we need to), diligently using sunscreen, avoiding sun exposure, using products that are gentle on the skin, (Recommendation: Serenitree Body Care), and learning to manage stress well. Remember, prevention is better than cure!

But if you already have vitiligo, there are also several treatments you can try. Let’s see more!

Various Ways to Treat Vitiligo

Vitiligo involves a lack of melanin, so solutions using only skincare products will not be very effective. Vitiligo treatments include various medical methods that can be chosen based on the severity of the condition and individual preferences. 

One common method is UV light therapy, where the affected skin is put through ultraviolet light therapy to stimulate and restore melanin production. Also, skin graft surgery is another option where healthy skin is transferred to the affected area to restore skin color. 

For mild symptoms, the use of medications such as Topical Corticosteroids, Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors, and Topical Immunomodulators may also help improve the skin condition (as prescribed). It is also possible to try micropigmentation techniques that involve the use of small tattoos to adjust the skin color. Lastly, a blister grafting procedure may also be an option where healthy skin is taken from the unaffected area and placed on the affected area to restore skin tone. 

But again, the best choice of therapy must be in accordance with the needs and conditions of each individual vitiligo! Therefore Serenitree strongly recommends consulting and discussing with a doctor or dermatologist. 

Don’t be despaired, Sereni-Trees! There must be a solution for every skin problem!

Is Vitiligo Contagious or Dangerous?

Indeed, the condition of vitiligo is very striking and can be seen clearly. But is it bad for your health or is it contagious?

It is essentially NOT a dangerous condition in terms of physical health. It does not cause pain or serious health risks. We also cannot “infect” people with this condition through physical contact or exchange of everyday objects. The reason: Vitiligo is a skin problem related to the production of melanin pigment and is not associated with infections or other infectious diseases. The impact we can see is a change in skin color.

In addition, vitiligo also has a psychological impact. The drastic changes seen in the skin can make some people insecure and even experience anxiety and stress. This can worsen the condition and adversely affect overall health. This is why in addition to medical treatment, vitiligo sufferers must have strong emotional support. 

We need to remember that whatever the color, texture, and type of our skin is, it shouldn’t make us insecure. As long as your body and skin are healthy, that is beautiful! There is a world-famous model who has successfully accepted her vitiligo condition, Winnie Harlow (America’s Next Top Model, season 21), and remains successful in her career. There are also many other role models who can be our inspiration!

So, don’t let your skin condition hold you back from achieving and being confident. We are all beautiful in our own way!

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