World Vitiligo Day

The largest organ of the body, the skin, is the most valued and taken care of organ for most people. Billions of dollars are spent annually on skin care and skin care products such as special soaps, lotions, sunscreen and even botox. Most people spare no effort when it comes to ensuring their skin is as flawless as possible. As is expected, there is a myriad of conditions that can affect the skin. Some of the more common and widely known skin conditions include acne, skin cancer, sunburn, eczema, albinism among others. A less known but common condition nonetheless is vitiligo. So what is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a condition in which one loses skin colour in patches. Consequently, one has sections on their skin that are of a different colour than the rest of the body. This occurs as a result of damage to melanocytes which are the pigment producing cells in the body. The affected person therefore lacks melanin in the affected section that results in the white patches. The condition is generally more noticeable in people with darker skin probably because of the sharp contrast in colour between the white patches and the rest of the body. However, this condition occurs with the same frequency in people of all races and ethnicity. Vitiligo affects an estimated 1% of the general population in the world. There is no significant difference in how the disease affects men and women.


Vitiligo is classified by many as an autoimmune disease. The condition is not hereditary although the offspring of someone with vitiligo is at a higher chance of developing the same. The loss of colour mostly occurs around orifices and in the extremities of the body. This includes the arms, feet, around the mouth and nostrils. There is currently no cure for vitiligo. However, there are a few treatment options that can help manage the condition. These include photodynamic therapy which involves using a combination of a drug and ultraviolet rays. This has helped slow the progression of vitiligo in some people. Steroids and immunosuppressive drugs are also recommended.


It is important to note that vitiligo and albinism are not synonymous. While there is little to no pigment in the whole skin in the case of albinism, vitiligo only affects patches of the skin. Moreover, for albinism, one is born with the condition while vitiligo occurs later in life.

World vitiligo day is celebrated on June 25th every year. The specific date was chosen in remembrance of the famous musician, Michael Jackson, who had vitiligo and died on that day. Happy world Vitiligo Day!

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