Vitiligo and black lights
May 15, 2014 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Curiosity filter: I have a mild case of vitiligo and poliosis, but am fortunate to be so fair skinned in general that the vitiligo is often hard to detect unless I point it out. I've heard that the de-pigmented patches of skin will glow under a woods lamp/black/uv lights and am curious if I can test this myself. Will any old black light do?

I've seen a couple cheap ones on Amazon. If I can use one of those, are any particular ones recommended? Or should I just wander into the back section of Spencer's gifts?
posted by wiskunde to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
A Wood's lamp is used for detecting various skin disorders, but Wikipedia says it's just a black light.
posted by Specklet at 12:40 PM on May 15, 2014

Yup, any old black light should do it.
posted by killdevil at 3:20 PM on May 15, 2014

I have about thirty percent coverage of vitiligo. I also have a fairly ruddy complexion which mitigates the contrast in normal light. In my experience it won't "glow" like a white t-shirt in a dark bar that has black lights but it does become more apparent.

The most it has ever been apparent was from having a company ID card taken with flash photography.
posted by vapidave at 2:43 AM on May 16, 2014

Thanks, everyone! I was able to get a hold of a cheapo black light/uv flash light and tested it out. As vapidave said, de-pigmented sections don't glow, but they are more visible. It's also kinda cool to see what does fluoresce under the uv light. I've not noticed the flash photography effect, but that may just be a function of where the de-pigmented sections are/ hair & glasses being in the way.
posted by wiskunde at 12:41 PM on June 14, 2014

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