It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. The cause of vitiligo is unknown, but research suggests that it may arise from autoimmune, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. The incidence worldwide is less than 1%.
There is no significant proof or evidence for this, many doctors believe that it can be caused by defects in many genes. Variations in genes that are part of the immune system or part of melanocytes have both been associated with vitiligo. The immune system genes are associated with other autoimmune disorders.
Here are the most famous public cases.
- Michael Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo in 1986. In a 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey in February 1993, Jackson claimed that he didn’t bleach his skin, stating for the first time that he had vitiligo. A friend claimed he started wearing his signature sequin glove to cover the vitiligo that had begun to appear in the early 80s.It was also claimed by Jackson during a leaked deposition tape in 1996, that he did not “bleach” his skin.The tape was leaked months after his death in June 2009. This is further reinforced in the official autopsy report which confirms Jackson’s diagnosis with the skin condition.
- Graham Norton, Irish television personality.
- Lee Thomas, a news anchor and entertainment reporter for WJBK (Fox) Detroit.
- Yvette Fielding, British TV presenter, has had vitiligo from age 11; her mother developed it at age 24.
- John Wiley Price, Dallas County Commissioner.
- Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood actor.
- Scott Jorgensen, UFC fighter.
- Daniel Bryan, professional wrestler, WWE superstar.
- Jon Hamm, actor best known for his role in Mad Men.
- John Henson, one of the hosts of ABC’s Wipeout has vitiligo and has a white patch of hair on the right side of his head from it.
- Krizz Kaliko, rapper from Kansas City, Missouri, is affected by vitiligo mostly around the eyes. He also named his debut album after the condition.
- J. D. Runnels, an American football fullback, who is affected by vitiligo around his eyes and mouth.
- Francesco Cossiga, former President of Italy. Vitiligo became evident after the stress he underwent, being both a minister of Interior in charge then and friend and fellow party member of the victim, during kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades.
- Holly Marie Combs suffers from it on her hands
Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or no longer form melanin, causing slowly enlarging white patches of irregular shapes to appear on your skin.Vitiligo affects all races, but may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. Vitiligo usually starts as small areas of pigment loss that spread with time. There is no cure for vitiligo. The goal of treatment is to stop or slow the progression of pigment loss and, if you desire, attempt to return some color to your skin.
Certain self-care tactics may help you care for your skin and improve its appearance:
- Protect your skin. If you have vitiligo, particularly if you have fair skin, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB light to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Sunscreen helps protect your skin from sunburn and long-term damage. Sunscreen also minimizes tanning, which makes the contrast between normal and depigmented skin less noticeable.
- Conceal imperfections. Concealing cosmetics may lessen the appearance of the white patches and help you feel better about yourself, especially if your vitiligo patches are on exposed skin. You may need to experiment with several brands of concealing cosmetics before finding a product that blends best with your normal skin tone. Sunless tanning products (self-tanners) also may help conceal imperfections by adding color to depigmented areas. The coloring doesn’t wash off, but it gradually fades as the dead skin cells slough off in several days.
Here is Michael Jackson explaining his skin issues::