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Busting the myths against Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a skin condition commonly known as leucoderma.

People mostly confuse it with albinism, the condition wherein the entire body turns melanin deficit.
In this condition, we see the presence of milky white patches that contrast against our normal skin tone.

It affects individuals of different races and ethnicities worldwide. Male and females are equally affected.

In Vitiligo the melanocytes(melanin producing cells) die leading to white irregular patches.

It is seen around elbows, knees, lips, mostly though it can affect other areas as well. When the patches affect the scalp, the hair in that area turns white.

Vitiligo is a multifactorial condition, though the actual cause behind it is still unknown. The triggers can be emotional stress, pregnancy and illness. Deficiencies of vitamin B12, folate, copper and zinc are also found to be predisposing factors for Vitiligo.

Because of the stigma associated with Vitiligo, many myths revolve around it.

1. Vitiligo doesn’t spread by touch.

Since this condition is rarely present at birth and it develops in the later part of life, people assume it must be contracted. Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system of the body acts against its own cell. The cause of it could be genetic, stress-related, etc.

2. Vitiligo is not caused because of diet.

For centuries, myths have been revolving around improper food combination being the cause behind the vitiligo condition. The combination of meat and milk or combination of fish with milk is considered to be a reason behind appearing of sudden white patches on the skin. Combination of milk with fruits like papaya, banana etc, are also considered to be the offending cause. No study conducted has proven the role of diet in vitiligo.

The world is slowly accepting the condition. Models with this condition are creating a mark and bring about awareness about Vitiligo.

Dr. Nisha Kumar

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