World Vitiligo Day is an annual day specially dedicated to people with Vitiligo. It is conceived by Vitiligo Friends network from USA and Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VITSAF) from Nigeria.
The day aims to increase awareness about vitiligo and raise funds needed for research and education. It is celebrated every year on 25th June.
Vitiligo is a disorder in which white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body. This happens when the skin cells called melanocytes which are responsible for skin colour are destroyed. Vitiligo can also affect the mucous membranes (such as the tissue inside the mouth and nose) and the eye. The prevalence of vitiligo is believed to be between 0.5% to 2% of the world population on the average.
The cause of Vitiligo is not known. Researchers think that it could be an autoimmune disease. These diseases happen when your immune system mistakenly attacks some part of your own body like skin cells. Others say that it is genetic and some other say it is caused by sunburn or emotional distress.
It effects people of all races, skin colour and genders. As the years progress, the white patches could spread for some people, but not necessarily.
Effect on mental health:
- Though Vitiligo does not affect physical or mental capabilities of the patients, they may become emotionally upset or psychologically depressed about the change in their appearance.
- Many people have misconception that it is a contagious disease, this leads to unnecessary discrimination of patients which leads to further emotional distress.
- The World Vitiligo aims to bring greater awareness about the disease and raise funds for research; currently research has under focused on this health condition. It also brings awareness about various treatments available for the disease including phototherapy. To stop the spread, oral steroids can be taken. Phototherapy are some of the options to get back the normal skin colour.
- In India, it is being observed in Mysuru on 25th June by Mysore Dermatology Society (MDS) in association with the K.R.Hospital.