Vitiligo - help!
April 29, 2005 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Crap. Just got diagnosed with vitiligo - a small pale patch on the cheek and one mostly-white eyebrow. Help me keep from ending up like Michael Jackson! (Although I am a honky.) Seriously, I'd love to hear from anyone who's had experience with it.
posted by gottabefunky to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I don't, my best friend does though. The only advice is to wear lots of sun block. Those pale pale patches of skin just love to burn.
posted by substrate at 3:56 PM on April 29, 2005

My dad's had it all his life, his patches don't seem to have gotten any bigger as long as I can remember. I don't really know much more about it, but I'd second the sunblock.
posted by MrZero at 4:37 PM on April 29, 2005

gottabefunky, as long as you're not planning on a sex change operation, I think you're safe from becoming MJ...
posted by shepd at 4:53 PM on April 29, 2005

I have it covering both my arms and also on my legs. I also have some on my face. If you use a good quality sun screen, you shouldn't have any problem. Some people go overboard and use their baby's SPF 50. I just use a 15, and make sure I reapply after a long time in the water.

I tan nicely on the unaffected skin, but the affected skin just burns and then turns white again.

The area of my skin that is affected grows and shrinks over time. Dr. said that stress will make it worse. I can watch my stress level go up and down on my arm. :-)

When I was diagnosed, the dermatologist had a prescription for me. Had to take like 12 pills at noon, and then at 1:00 lay out for 30 minutes. This was not guaranteed to work. (Pills were expensive too.)

I choose to watch my exposure and live with it. In the winter it is really unnoticeable, and in the summer, well, I have a conversation starter. I've never had any pain with it (other then a sunburn), it is not contagious, transmittable, or hereditary. So, I actually feel pretty lucky, considering all the different diseases that are out there.
posted by mcescher at 6:04 PM on April 29, 2005

[I think the white eyebrow is cool.]
posted by five fresh fish at 6:17 PM on April 29, 2005

I have this a little as well, I've never been to the doctor. Small patch of white skin, barely noticeable. Half my eyelash is white, and a small stripe through one eyebrow is white. Just tell people you're with the X-Men, always works for me!
posted by patrickje at 6:37 PM on April 29, 2005

I'm with fff; one of my best friends had vitiligo hit in our senior year, and alluvasudden BAM there's a streak of white in his dark black hair. It looked cool. Still does.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:08 AM on April 30, 2005

I've had this since I was about 7. It's on my left shin, ankle and behind my left knee. At this point in my life (I'm 35) I don't even think about it except, like others, to remember to sun block it. When I was a child it horrified me - I wouldn't wear shorts if I was going anywhere there might be kids I didn't know. Once I got in my 20s, people, especially girls, started to think it was cool. Don't ask me why. Anyway, like I said, I don't even think about it anymore. It's gotten smaller over time as well. I'm now at the point where if it went away I think I might be disappointed. It sets me apart. Of course, it's not on my face and it's not immediately apparant, so I can readily ignore it. If it were a more extreme case, I'm sure it would affect me more significantly.

Funny thing - if I had a nickel for every person that has told me I have paint on my leg, I'd be rich. Seriously. This happens ALL the time.
posted by spicynuts at 10:01 AM on April 30, 2005

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