Familiar with the girl in the photo above? Yep, it’s Winnie Harlow! This Jamaican blooded Secret Secret model is known for its physical characteristics that are different from the general model. Winnie has vitiligo, a disorder that causes her skin color to fade. She is a real icon, because vitiligo does not prevent her from working and inspiring many people.
Although rare, in fact vitiligo is experienced by 1 percent of the population or around 50 million people worldwide. Let’s get to know more about vitiligo, let’s go!
1. How can vitiligo occur?
Have you ever wondered what is the cause of vitiligo? Apparently, according to the Mayo Clinic page, vitiligo occurs when cells that produce melanin die and stop functioning. In fact, melanin affects the formation of skin color.
Vitiligo can occur in anyone, from any race. However, vitiligo is more visible in dark skinned people. This is because faded skin looks brighter, which will contrast with the person’s skin color.
2. Vitiligo is not harmful to health
Physically, vitiligo only affects the discoloration of the skin. Vitiligo is not dangerous, let alone life threatening. However, vitiligo can affect the mental state of the sufferer.
Yep, because it looks ‘different’, often vitiligo can make someone feel less confident. That stigma decreases the sufferer’s self-esteem.
3. Identifiable vitiligo symptoms
The main sign of vitiligo is loss of skin color. Usually, color changes are first seen in areas exposed to sunlight, such as hands, feet, arms, face and lips.
Not only detected from the skin, vitiligo can also be seen from the discoloration of the inner lining of the eyeball (retina), the presence of gray hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and beard, and areas affected by vitiligo will slowly spread. According to Medicine Net page, people who have vitiligo will gray faster than other people in general.
4. The trigger factor for the appearance of vitiligo
Vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) die or stop producing melanin. So, what is the trigger?
The Mayo Clinic page mentions that in addition to genetic factors such as heredity, vitiligo is caused by a disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys melanocytes in the skin. Other triggers are stress, sunburn and exposure to industrial chemicals.
5. Myths related to vitiligo
Many myths related to vitiligo. For example, vitiligo appears in children because their parents marry differently. In fact, vitiligo is not related to the ethnicity of parents. In fact, children with parents from one race can experience vitiligo, according to the Get Healthy Stay Healthy page.
Another myth is that vitiligo is associated with other skin diseases, such as skin cancer, leprosy and albino. In fact, vitiligo does not have a relationship with the disease. Not only that, food does not affect the onset of vitiligo. So, it’s all just a myth, huh!
6. Can vitiligo be removed?
Vitiligo lasts a lifetime. Even so, there are ways to eliminate it.
Starting from a simple way in which we cover uneven skin color with make-up, make tattoos on small areas of the skin, to do skin grafts! This graft is taken from the person’s own tissue, then placed in another area to cover the vitiligo, according to the Medicine Net page.