Sue: Vitiligo Finger Treatment – Case Study.
Vitiligo Finger Treatment – Case Study:
This case study is based on fact, but the names of the people involved have been changed to respect their privacy. The story demonstrates a true account with real events, told as truthfully as replication and effect allows.
My name is Sue, and I’ve got Vitiligo!
It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who don’t know that Vitiligo exists. When I got the white patches on my fingers, I thought I would be inundated with questions from family and friends. To me it was a very big deal. Unfortunately, those afflicted with this disease constitute only 1-2% of the population, and Vitiligo is virtually unknown.
When I was diagnosed with Vitiligo, I was told that there was no cure but that it was neither contagious nor painful in any way. This news affected me on a level I will outline below.
Let’s start at the very beginning!
It all started about 6 months ago. I have dark skin, brown eyes, and black hair. I have always been proud of my skin texture. Because I have genetically glossy hair and smooth skin, I haven’t really spent a lot on beauty products. I have always just bought what I could afford. Luckily, that seems to have worked! I enjoy having long nails and paint them regularly. I remember the horror I felt when I first saw the white blemishes.
Vitiligo affects people of all skin types but tends to be more noticeable on darker skin tones. This can contribute to additional stigmatisation and psychological stress in certain communities. Vitiligo can affect anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or gender. Although the colour of your skin is determined by the balance of its melanin, all people have roughly the same number of melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin, a dark pigment responsible for the colouration of hair and skin.
The Vitiligo spots appeared on the tips of my fingers, around the cuticles. At first, I thought that my hands were extremely dry, and that the skin on the cuticles had somehow peeled. I got a good cuticle oil and carried on with my life. I soon found that, although my cuticles appeared well nourished, the white spots were still there.
Research indicates that we know more about what causes Vitiligo than any other autoimmune disease, including diabetes, thyroiditis, lupus, and others. Historically, scientists have thought that Vitiligo was caused by autoimmunity to cellular stress, chemicals, nerves, and genetics. It seems that these are all correct, and they all work together to cause the clinical disease we call Vitiligo.
At this point I was not too concerned because I thought the spots would disappear. I was healthy, the Vitiligo lesions were not itchy, didn’t burn and were not at all sore or uncomfortable. The only effect the Vitiligo had on me was the unsightly white patches. They contrasted strongly with my darker complexion. After a couple of weeks, I noticed a small, white patch on one of my knuckles. That was when I decided to act. My dermatologist diagnosed Vitiligo, with the prognosis that it would possibly spread.
Part of my day-to-day job description is research, so I figuratively rolled up my sleeves! I started my research project by listing my questions. “Why me?”, “Is Vitiligo contagious?”, “Can Vitiligo be cured?” and “What do I do now?”.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there has been, and continues to be, plenty of research into this rather baffling skin disease. It was also inspiring to read about the many Vitiligo sufferers who had “beaten” this disease. I wanted to be one of those people!
Early clinical trials suggested that Vitiligo occurred in people who had other autoimmune diseases, particularly thyroid disease, and juvenile diabetes. This suggested that Vitiligo was also an autoimmune disease because antibodies to melanocytes were discovered in blood samples, which seemed to confirm this idea.
Some researchers found that melanocytes from Vitiligo sufferers were abnormal, so they believed it to be a degenerative melanocyte disease with immune responses secondary to this degeneration. Further microscopic examination of Vitiligo-affected skin revealed that T cells were immediately adjacent to dying melanocytes. Additional studies found that the abnormal melanocytes caused inflammation to the skin, resulting in the T cells destroying the melanocytes.
At this point I was more confused than ever. I felt overwhelmed and dispirited. I have never had a strong relationship with my family. Growing up, I was rebellious, and my behaviour became unruly and belligerent, causing family and friends to avoid contact with me. On reflection, I realised that I would need my support structure in place. Despite my history of resentment, my family surrounded me with love and support. Immediately, I felt strong and able to confront this disease.
Stress is caused by grief, guilt, fear, frustration and suppressed emotions. Emotional issues play an important role in the onset of Vitiligo. Events such as the death of a family member, work and financial problems have been linked as preceding factors to developing Vitiligo. Stress increases the levels of catecholamines, neuropeptides, and cortisol that are higher in Vitiligo patients suggesting their role in the development of Vitiligo.
Armed with the important emotional support of my family, I continued with my Vitiligo research. I found the most inclusive source of information from a website from a company, Vitiligo Treatment in South Africa. Since 2001, this global company has been treating Vitiligo. Their Vitilox® range of products has been described as the most advanced and effective family of Vitiligo treatment products available. Their team of skin care consultants and professionals have a wealth of knowledge and experience in treating Vitiligo.
I chose to undergo a free assessment which involved filling out an online form and sending a few photographs of my fingers. The following day, I received a reply and an explanation of what may have caused my Vitiligo, along with my options for my treatment. The consultant recommended I get a pack containing the Vitilox® Vitiligo Pigmentation Cream, together with the Vitilox® Vitamin B12, Folic Acid & Vitamin D3 tablets. This combo pack is much cheaper than getting the individual products.
I used the cream twice a day, after carefully washing my hands with a mild soap. I then dried the areas and applied the cream by gently massaging using a circular motion. The cream is not at all greasy and seems to penetrate quickly. I only needed to take one vitamin capsule a day. This stops any further spread of the Vitiligo lesions.
The results were excellent, and within six weeks the skin around my fingernails had completely repigmented. Because you need only a little of the cream, I continued to use it for another month. I completed the vitamin course and got on with my life.
Two months later, I was distressed to find a small, white spot on one of my fingers. I purchased another pack of the cream and vitamins and resumed treatment. It took ten weeks for the pigment to return this time. I then purchased a double-pack of the vitamins. This amounts to four months’ treatment. These vitamins slow down the effects of Vitiligo, so they are a great way as a maintenance programme for me. Some of the benefits of these vitamins are that they help reduce stress and anxiety, and the folic acid is an important element in producing healthy DNA. Vitamin D3 is associated with an increase in tyrosinase activity, and melanogenesis which contributes to repigmentation in Vitiligo macules.
Since I was diagnosed with Vitiligo, I have experienced online support from those living with Vitiligo. I get and give emotional support and gain practical advice on managing my disease. I understand that there is no cure at present, but the disease can be easily treated, and the symptoms can be eradicated. I have also made new friends who understand how I feel and have no judgement.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I started treatment early, and I will continue with the vitamins for as long as is necessary. Most importantly, I have learned that the skin on my hands needs to be treated gently. On the advice of the Vitiligo Treatment consultant, I use alcohol-based sanitisers very infrequently because they tend to dry the skin out.
One of the most important aspects of my having Vitiligo, is the fact that I am now very conscious of my body. I think if you are predisposed to contracting Vitiligo, early detection is key. By detecting and treating Vitiligo early while it is less widespread, you will be able to achieve a normal looking skin sooner with less inconvenience to your life.
Since my treatment commenced, I have read many testimonials on the Vitiligo Treatment website. These are stories – some like my own – some very different. These people are all trying to help others by showing them that there are treatments available for every type and sub-type of Vitiligo!
Don’t wait! Early treatment is key!
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