Vitiligo Awareness: VitiligoBond.org · Unite For Vitiligo · Dermablend Cosmetics
Vitiligo Friends Support Group · Facebook: Vitiligo Pride
Imagine finding white spots on your skin that spread for no apparent reason. This change in physical appearance can be terrifying and confusing. Living with vitiligo can make it difficult to be comfortable in your own skin. The lack of public understanding and overt discrimination faced by many vitiligans can make simple daily tasks, like grocery shopping or going to work, a constant struggle.
Vitiligo, a non-contagious disorder where white patches appear on the skin, affects one percent of the population. Depigmentation occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, are unable to function. Until recently, the cause of vitiligo was unknown, though recent research now indicates the disorder may be a result of autoimmune, genetic, neural, or viral issues.
For some, living with vitiligo can lead to self-induced isolation, self-esteem issues, and mental health concerns. For others like Courtney Simon, vitiligo gives her life meaning and truly drives her ambition. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work, Simon credits her experience dealing with vitiligo as the reason for her future career.
Aside from the physical aspect of the disorder, many vitiligans suffer from psychological issues such as depression and mood disorders. With no known cure on the horizon, it can be difficult to see the silver lining. Though treatment options are available for concealing the skin, some treatments can be extremely harmful, causing other diseases and cancer.
Organizations like Vitiligo Bond Inc. (VBI), provide vitiligans with access to information about the disorder and safe treatments, and more importantly, a private support group where members can share their challenges in a safe, understanding environment. For members like Simon, the Facebook support group is her “vitfamily,” one she cannot live without. Simon explains “We have similarities, we encourage each other, we laugh, we cry, we motivate each other because of something we live, breathe, and cope with in our everyday life.”