Radio Shows | Vitiligo and the King of Pop | mp3 … wma … wav
With all the media coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, I was reminded of how remarkable he was.
He was so talented… a great singer and dancer. But I, like so many, also remember him for all his physical changes. Some were from plastic surgery and one is apparently from a disease called Vitiligo (vit-ih-LI-go).
It’s a condition where skin cells called melanocytes no longer make the pigment melanin.
For some reason those cells either die or no longer produce the pigment. This causes areas of color loss or depigmentation that enlarge to form irregular patches on the skin.
The darker your natural skin color, the more obvious these lesions can appear. About two in one hundred people have vitiligo and get it before the age of 20.
Its cause appears to be a combination of autoimmunity, genetics and environmental factors. Autoimmunity is when a person’s own immune system attacks some part of their body, killing cells and causing disease.
Treatment of vitiligo depends on age, natural skin color and the extent of depigmentation. First, you should limit sun exposure and use sunscreen.
Cosmetics alone often help those who are light skinned but for others, topical corticosteroids can restore color by re-pigmentation.
Certain chemical agents used with UV light may also repigment the skin but can increase the risk for skin cancer.
However, if more than half the body is affected, another option is to lighten all the skin permanently. Monobenzene ether of hydroquinone can leave a person uniformly white, and sensitive to sunlight.
The newest treatments involve harvesting melanocytes from healthy skin, growing them in the lab, then transplanting them into the effected areas.
That’d be ideal - to allow the body itself to do the job and help those who’re often stigmatized by this disorder.
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