We are different, we are the same

Larissa Brea

Riverview, United States

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Artist's Description

For all the people with vitiligo out there. The tittle of this image says it all!

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo (also called “leukoderma”) is a common skin disease in which there is loss of pigment from areas of the skin resulting in irregular white spots or patches. The skin has normal texture. Vitiligo may appear at any age. Although it is a progressive condition, many people experience years or decades without developing new spots.

Vitiligo is not contagious in any way. The precise cause of Vitiligo is not well-understood, though researchers are getting closer to knowing more. Many experts believe that vitiligo is the result of one or a combination of genetic, immunologic, biochemical and neurogenic factors. Susceptibility to vitiligo may be genetic. It is often, though not always, seen in families. It is thought by many experts that Vitiligo is an autoimmune related disorder, meaning a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks on its own tissue or cells, in this case, the melanocytes (pigment cells which give the skin its color). This does not necessarily represent a weak or deficient immune system, but one which may be malfunctioning or misdirected. Other research has centered on vitamin deficiencies, and internal pathogens. Though the condition has no other known effects on the body, the psychological and social effects are well documented.

Vitiligo is more noticeable in darker skinned people because of the contrast, although when they tan, even lighter skinned people are affected. This condition affects about 1% to 2% of the world population. In some countries, the incidence is even higher. Worldwide, there are thought to be more than 100 million people with the condition. Vitiligo appears to be as old as the recorded history of man – it is mentioned in the Bible, and there are references to it in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Chinese writings.

Today, vitiligo is a treatable condition, though treatment can take two years or longer to regain pigment, though repigmentation may not be 100%. There is more research being conducted than ever before; in Europe, in Asia, and in the U.S., new technologies and research are changing physicians’ approaches to the condition. The recent mapping of the human genome has paved the way for advanced genetic research into vitiligo, and other cell-based theories are also gaining attention.

Many experts believe that with genetic and biomedical technology improving as they are, that within the next few years, we will see a greater understanding of vitiligo, as well as faster and more reliable treatments for this, and other autoimmune conditions.

Taken from the vitiligo support website www.vitiligosupport.org

Artwork Comments

  • Larissa Brea
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  • Van Cordle
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  • Micki Ferguson
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