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Myths and Facts About Vitiligo

Living with vitiligo can be a challenge. This condition can lower people's self-confidence and interfere with their relationships. It doesn't help that there's a lot of misconceptions around vitiligo. 

Thankfully, specialists with an understanding of vitiligo can deliver the facts. Dr. Allen Flood is an experienced dermatologist who’s been treating patients in Capitol Hill, Washington for 40 years. When it comes to vitiligo, he, as well as our team, can separate fact from fiction. 

What is vitiligo? 

Before the myths can be addressed, there needs to be a clear outline of what vitiligo is. Vitiligo is a non-infectious skin condition that impacts melanin production. 

Cells that produce melanin gives the skin its color, and people with darker skin have higher rates of melanin production. If melanin-producing cells die or stop functioning, pale blotches appear on the skin. Vitiligo isn’t contagious or life-threatening, but it can negatively impact how someone feels about themselves.

The truth about vitiligo 

People experiencing vitiligo experience a wide range of issues. People's misunderstanding about their condition can only exacerbate their problems. Not to mention, some people with vitiligo mistakenly accept these misconceptions as fact. 

Here are some of the most common myths about vitiligo, and the truth behind them. 

Myth: Vitiligo is contagious 

Fact: As mentioned above, vitiligo is not contagious at all. It’s a skin condition, not an infection. This myth is harmful and unfair to those who have vitiligo. 

Myth: Vitiligo is caused by mixed-race parents 

Fact: Vitiligo has no relation to race, and is not caused by being mixed-race. It’s not a genetic affliction. In fact, most people with vitiligo have full skin pigmentation at birth and lose melanin over time. 

Myth: You can cure vitiligo

Fact: Vitiligo is currently incurable. However, it’s not life-threatening, and many people with vitiligo live happy lives. Some creams and treatments exist to slow down the spread of vitiligo, but not everyone chooses to use them. 

Myth: Vitiligo only happens to dark-skinned people 

Fact: This condition occurs in all people, regardless of race or ethnicity. Vitiligo is just more noticeable in people with higher rates of melanin. 

Myth: Vitiligo is caused by cancer 

Fact: Vitiligo is an independent condition that can happen to anyone. You don’t need to have cancer or any additional illnesses to experience vitiligo. Vitiligo is thought to be an autoimmune disorder where the body falsely attacks melanin-producing cells. 

The more we learn about vitiligo, the better we can dispel these harmful myths. If you’ve been experiencing pale patches of skin, talking to a dermatologist about vitiligo might be the first step to getting a diagnosis. To contact Dr. Flood, you can call 202-235-2431 or schedule an appointment by visiting our website

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