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I have vitiligo, and have done for the last couple of years. I am not worried about how it looks, and I know about camouflage makeup - I chose not to use it.

I am concerned, however, about the risk of sunburn and possibly other illnesses caused by that (for example, some skin cancers).

I would like to know what extra precautions I have to take to keep myself safe - other than the basics that everyone does of suncream if it is sunny.

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There is no cure for vitiligo, but there are treatments that may reduce the discoloring in your skin and possibly even restore skin color. The main treatments used by doctors are either restoring the skin to normal color, or bleaching the skin, so that all of the skin is an even color. They do these things in a number of ways, including topical treatments and some surgical treatments.1

There still might be some side-effects, though. Some people might suffer from psychological distress, but as you said, that doesn't affect you. There is also an increased risk for sunburn and even skin cancer when exposed to the sun. Vitiligo can also cause inflammation of the iris, causing you to have eye problems. There is also a chance of hearing problems. Lastly, as a side-effect of any treatments you might be receiving, you may get dry skin and feel itchy.2

To help prevent these side-effects (besides the last one) there are many things you can do other than getting treatments. The most important thing is to protect yourself from UV light. It is recommended that you use sunscreen with at least 30 SPF(Sun Protection Factor). Try to be in the shade whenever possible and wear clothing that will protect your skin from the sun (ie: long sleeve shirts, pants, hats, etc.). Covering up will help with most side-effects, especially the sunburn and the skin cancer, which you are a higher risk for than eye or hearing problems. Also, never get a tattoo. Getting a tattoo will cause more damage to your skin, which can make more patches of vitiligo to appear on your skin.3


[1] Vitiligo Treatments

[2] Mayo Clinic - Vitiligo Complications

[3] Mayo Clinic - Vitiligo Lifestyle and Home Remedies

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