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Psychological impact of Vitiligo


… having Vitiligo is not the cataclysmic calamity that a terminal cancer or severely disabling injury would be. But I do know that its effects on a person's confidence and self-image can be quite devastating.

So I have no wish to overstate the plight of vitiligo sufferers or in any way dramatise or exaggerate the seriousness of the condition. But I do know, from my own experience, that the psychological impact of vitiligo is something that is very personal and is really not mitigated by making comparisons with other conditions or counting oneself lucky not to have cancer or be in a wheel chair instead.

I know that some people with vitiligo claim (and I don't doubt their honesty) to have come to terms with the condition and are not bothered by it at all. Sadly I have never been one of them and I suspect they are in the minority. Granted, having vitiligo is not the cataclysmic calamity that a terminal cancer or severely disabling injury would be. But I do know that its effects on a person's confidence and self-image can be quite devastating.

The unpredictable and progressive nature of the condition can cause an insidious erosion of one's own sense of self. One day a familiar face looks back at you from the mirror and the next day you can see part of the picture fading and you know that in a few more days another piece of the jigsaw will have disappeared and a frightened, unfamiliar pair of eyes will be looking back at you from behind an altered facial landscape. A sudden change to the person you perceive yourself to be must be difficult enough to come to terms with.

But an apparently random, mischievous, malevolent progressive alteration is unnerving at best and often panic inducing and deeply, deeply depressing. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that our skin is our outer packaging, our first impression to the world. Beauty is just skin deep, or so they say. It's inextricably bound up with our own sense of identity, heredity, race and self-worth. And it's not something that is supposed to change apart from getting wrinkled with old age!

Caroline VitiligoProtocol.co.uk

Blog Date: 
November 30, 2010