Like it or not, conversations about the vitiligo appear to be missing from the public domain. Who can blame anyone? Only 1% of the world’s population is living with vitiligo. And, 99% of the world doesn’t know that its psychological and social impact can be significant on people living with it, especially kids, teenagers and those with darker skin.
Educating 99% of world population seems like a lot of work, right? Don’t worry. Your small contribution to making World Vitiligo Day a success can be a cause of tremendous optimism for everyone with vitiligo. Whether you are raising awareness or making the call for a treatment, you too can be a part of this momentous occasion for the vitiligo community and do your bit. Wondering how? Here are 5 things you should do this World Vitiligo Day.
1 – Share Your Vitiligo Story
Sharing your story can educate the population that is vitiligo free. Share your experience with vitiligo by reaching out to a local newspaper, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If this seems like a lot of work, social media is a powerful platform to share your coping mechanisms, struggles, and triumphs while living with vitiligo. If you feel comfortable writing a long post about your vitiligo journey, share it all at once in a post. To maximize your outreach within vitiligo community, be sure to include trending vitiligo hashtags like #WorldVitiligoDay, #Vitiligo, #UniteForVitigo.
Submit your photo to submission-based vitiligo Instagram accounts. Follow accounts like @Vitiligo.Beauty, @Vitligopeople, @UniteForVitiligo, @Vitiligobeauties, @Vitiligo.World, or @Vitiligo.Jpg to share your picture and vitiligo story.
2 – Debunk some myths
Believe it or not, vitiligo is a skin condition people hold many misconceptions on. Inaccurate beliefs about the nature of the disorder can have devastating effects. Due to lack of proper knowledge and existing myths, many of us may feel embarrassed and avoid seeking effective treatment. To educate people about the chronic skin disorder, debunk common vitiligo myths like:
Vitiligo is infectious and contagious.
Reality: Vitiligo cannot be passed through contact or transmitted via touch, saliva, blood, sexual intercourse or the sharing of personal items. The skin disorder is not passed from one to another via sneezing, coughing, sharing food, or a bed.
Vitiligo is dangerous.
Reality: For being a skin disorder, vitiligo is a cosmetic problem, hence it is not life-threatening.
Vitiligo is triggered by eating certain combinations of foods.
Reality: Vitiligo is not caused by the wrong combination of foods, (such as drinking milk shortly after eating fish). It is an auto-immune disorder and has no direct relation to food.
All white patches are vitiligo.
Reality: The visual similarity with Leprosy may often lead to the social stigma attached to vitiligo. Unlike Leprosy, vitiligo is simply an immune disorder and is not an infection triggered by bacteria.
Children of parents with vitiligo ultimately develop vitiligo.
Reality: It’s not entirely true. Of all vitiligo fighters, only 15-20% have one or more affected first-degree relative. So, it’s absolutely okay to marry someone with vitiligo.
3 – Donate to a nonprofit or research organization
Every day, countless doctors, researchers, lobbyists, and volunteers are working towards improving our quality of life – and they need help. Whatever small it is, donate to:
- A nonprofit organization that provides support group networks
- A research lab, which is working to find a cure
- A global organization that advocates on behalf of those with vitiligo.
Your donation will go a long way toward helping the entire community at large. Search on the internet to find some of the organizations that take donations.
4 – Approach the local government officials.
You can write a letter or send a postcard to your local elected official, explaining why vitiligo awareness is important to end bullying in schools. Federal and local support is also needed to make everyone aware that:
- Vitiligo is a chronic skin disorder worthy of attention.
- Funding for research into the cure of vitiligo is needed.
- Insurance companies need to address vitiligo as a real problem rather than seeing it as a cosmetic issue.
- Public awareness of vitiligo can be raised through educational campaigns, local activities, and community events.
5 – Wear a vitiligo t-shirt.
Advocacy doesn’t necessary mean raising money and knocking on doors. Not all of us are comfortable with doing so. So, find a smart way to be a vitiligo awareness advocate. Wear a t-shirt about vitiligo and be willing to answer questions about it. Wearing a t-shirt (something printed with “It’s Called Vitiligo”) is a great way to let the world know that these white patches are harmless and aren’t due to infection. You can shop vitiligo t-shirts from Amazon’s.
In the end, this World Vitiligo Day, we urge you to extend awareness, understanding, and support for individuals with vitiligo in your area. Hopefully, what is being celebrated at a small scale will become an important day of the year. To live happier with vitiligo, check out our:
- Knowledge articles that can help you know the skin disorder through a magnifying glass.
- Life hacks and emotional well-being blogs to deal with vitiligo-led challenges.
- Latest community bites to let you know what is going on in the vitiligo world.