NEW DELHI: Next time you find someone with white patches on their skin, hold their hand and attempt to break the stereotypes around the disease called vitiligo.
On World Vitiligo Day which is observed on June 25, experts say that new treatments are giving hope to patients and that breaking stigma around this disease is a social responsibility.
“Vitiligo patients are often socially stigmatised because of fear of it being a communicable disease which it is absolutely not,” Dr Rohit Batra, dermatologist and vitiligo expert, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told The Morning Standard.
Also known as leucoderma, vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system of the body attacks its healthy cells. The condition is characterised by white patches on the skin that develops as a result of melanocytes within the skin.
These are cells that are responsible for the skin pigment melanin that gives colour to your skin. The white patches appear when the melanocytes die off.
There is a belief that vitiligo is an outcome of the wrong combination of foods, for instance, milk consumption shortly after eating fish can bring on the disorder.
Experts said that this is a factually wrong belief. “It has no link with the diet. It is irrational to deprive patients of the sour foods like lemon, curd, tomatoes, and pickles in the hope of declining the possibility of the disease,” Batra added.
Another belief is that people with vitiligo disorder are lesser in their mental or physical proficiency which is again a medically not true. The disease is limited entirely to the skin. It also does not have any connection to serious skin disorders like as skin cancer and albinism.