What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is considered a disease, that causes the loss of skin color in blotches. The rate of color loss is unpredictable, and it does affect the skin on any part of your body.
What causes it from a genetic standpoint?
From my experience and research, doctors have listed that it could be genetic. In my case, no one had Vitiligo. But I do know of one person who got theirs genetically from their father.
What causes it?
Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes the loss. Going back to the genetic aspect, it can be that. It’s also been believed that sunburn, industrial chemicals or even stress could cause it. There is still no clear answer for it.
Is it hereditary?
Yes, it can be. But it’s also possible that one person has it in their family, and no one else could get it.
Can it be passed on?
Not by physical touch, only in a genetic aspect.
Can you stop is from spreading?
There are some treatment options, but there is nothing to prevent it from continuing the loss of skin color.
How does it start?
Many times, it usually starts on more exposed areas of the body. Such as feet, arms, face, hands and neck.
What is the percent of blacks/African Americans that have it compared to other races?
I haven’t seen any research that breaks it down by ethnic groups. Considering only 0.5-1% of the population has it; I would guess not that many.
Is it the real reason Michael Jackson bleached his skin?
From my understanding, Michael went under a depigmentation process that is considered a skin whitening or to tone the skin evenly. I was told from a doctor a few years back, that it is permanent. The result of this treatment, is that you can only be white. You can not go back to a darker skin tone. Our bodies are already in the process of depigmentation naturally, because our immune system is attacking the skin color cells. This process just speeds it up, especially if you are suffering greatly on a psychological level. What a lot of people don’t understand, is that Vitiligo and Albinism are connected as well. We suffer from vision and hearing loss just like them. So whether you get this treatment or not, our immune systems have a great advantage of speeding up the “bleaching” process for us without dropping a penny.
What is the “confidence” journey like embracing the transition?
It’s very hard on a person in a psychological aspect. Everyone’s journey is different. Some people have the same stories, and others don’t. I know a few people who weren’t bothered by it, because it was genetic for them. I think in the wake of social media, most people have accepted this condition. Awareness makes a large difference in confidence.
What was the experience like during childhood?
It was very challenging. It was hard for me to make friends. It didn’t matter where I went, I was teased by both adults and kids. Adults wouldn’t want me to play or touch their children, because they assumed I was contagious. I’ve been jumped, and had my hair chopped off at the playground. I even attempted to commit suicide when I was in the 6th grade. Even at 26, I’m still working on healing myself. But when you endure many traumatic experiences like that starting at the age of 3, it takes control of your whole being. Trauma is all you know. It’s even your best friend…if you let it.
Describe your path of embracing yourself.
Honestly, I didn’t want to. I didn’t know what that was, because so many people told me what I wasn’t. My family played a major role in that process. My mom forced me to go outside and play, and wear shorts. I hated shorts, and she always made me wear things that clearly exposed all my spots. My grandmother was the fighter, so she stayed cussing people out for even looking at me the wrong way. My big sister didn’t like that I was afraid of people, or wouldn’t fight back…so she would make me fight her. My dad is the first and last man who will always tell me how beautiful I am.
Is there a cure?
No, there is no cure.
Can the color of your skin return to its original color?
No. In the cases of the treatments, it can help wake up the skin color cells. But you can lose the pigment again, especially if you don’t do regular treatments. Just because it goes away in one spot, it can return in the same spot or another.
What has your experience been with it?
I’ve had light treatments done on me as a child. I would have wear steroid creams, and stand in large lighting machines 3x a week. I got tired of doing it, even though I still wanted to be one skin tone. It’s just a lot of work, time consuming and money. After that, I’ve never done any other treatments. At this point, I’ve made peace with it.
How have you had to change up the way you do things?
Not much honestly. I just don’t go out into the sun as much, or I go when the sun is getting ready to set. When I was younger and had much more Vitiligo, I couldn’t play outside until a certain time. My mom wouldn’t let me stay in the sun for no more than 15-20 minutes. The skin burns very easily, and we are at higher risk for skin cancer.
Does it effect you physically?
Nope. I have heard of some people being anemic. I am, so I had to take Iron pills growing up. Now, I get most of it through my food.