If you’re living with vitiligo, you’re already aware of the impact the condition can have on your life — but chances are strong that other people in your orbit don’t know as much as they could about the disease. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness for the condition — particularly in June, as June 25 is World Vitiligo Day.
It can be hard when your friends and family don’t know what you’re going through. It can also feel difficult to say no to loved ones who don’t understand your situation, because you might worry about how it will affect your relationships.
Raising awareness about vitiligo is important so that your friends, family, and acquaintances can better understand how to support you. Check out five ways that you can get involved with vitiligo awareness.
Before you boost public awareness about vitiligo by sharing information with others, it’s a good idea to understand the specifics of the condition. Learn more about vitiligo’s causes, signs and symptoms, and treatments.
Vitiligo presents as patches of white skin that have lost their pigment from melanin. These patches can occur anywhere on the body, including in the hair and mucous membranes. They may develop symmetrically on both sides of the body, or they may be present on only one side.
Some people experience patches of color loss covering a few areas of the body, whereas others have it in various places over the whole body. Occasionally, vitiligo’s effects are limited to the skin on or near the face.
The cells responsible for making melanin are called melanocytes. In vitiligo, melanocytes are destroyed, resulting in the pigment loss seen in the disease. People with vitiligo usually have an even skin tone when they are born and, as they grow up, develop lighter patches of skin over time.
There are many theories about what causes some people to develop vitiligo. Most researchers agree that in most cases, vitiligo is an autoimmune disease. In other words, white patches and other symptoms of vitiligo are caused by the body’s immune system attacking the melanocytes. Vitiligo may also be passed down through families or triggered by a stressful life event.
After you’re armed with information about vitiligo, you can share it with others. The fastest and least expensive approach to this kind of advocacy is through social media. You can post information about vitiligo, share details about the condition, and join communities of other people who are also working to raise awareness about vitiligo.
To ensure your messages on social media spread awareness to as many people as possible, consider using an appropriate vitiligo-related hashtag, like #Vitiligo, #VitiligoAwareness, and #StepUp4Vitiligo. This way, your posts will be seen by more people who have the same interests, and they’re more likely to share and comment.
Social media posts help raise awareness for the condition, and they also allow other people with vitiligo to realize they aren’t alone. Joining a vitiligo community on social media, such as MyVitiligoTeam, can also help you connect with others.
Another way to raise awareness about vitiligo is to participate in an activity dedicated to the cause. You can walk or run for vitiligo, play bingo, host a silent auction or fundraiser, or even create a unique event that works for your interests. You can help other people understand more about vitiligo while having fun and working to raise funds for the cause.
If you are able to, you can also donate to the Global Vitiligo Foundation to support vitiligo research and advocacy. Even if you aren’t able to donate, you can stay on top of the scientific research and legislative actions that come out of the donation efforts by following the Global Vitiligo Foundation.
Every year, the Global Vitiligo Foundation — in partnership with MyVitiligoTeam — hosts World Vitiligo Day-USA, an event that aims to recognize the experiences of people with vitiligo and share information about new vitiligo research in the medical field. As an attendee, you can forge relationships with other people who understand life with vitiligo, hear inspirational stories from others, and find out what’s happening in the world of vitiligo treatment and management. You can register online for the event.
On MyVitiligoTeam, more than 10,000 people living with vitiligo come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with the condition.
Share your vitiligo journey in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.