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Vitiligo in News – August 2020

After a lull induced by the coronavirus outbreak, August 2020 saw some traction on the vitiligo research front. According to study data published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, long-term narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) therapy may decrease the risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events in people with vitiligo. 

Researchers extracted data from the Korean National Health Insurance claims database from 2007 through 2017. Patients aged more or equal to 40 years with a clinical diagnosis of vitiligo were eligible for study inclusion. In a large cohort of patients with vitiligo, long-term NB-UVB exposure appeared to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke.

A total of 3229 patients with more than 100 phototherapy sessions were propensity score-matched to 9687 patients with less than 3 phototherapy sessions. In the long-term phototherapy group, the incidence rate of all cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events was 60/10,000 person-years. In patients with no phototherapy exposure, the incidence rate grew to 95.6/10,000 person-years. However, in this investigative study, no database was available on body mass index, family history, smoking history, or lifestyle for all patients with vitiligo. For accurate results, these major confounding factors should be assessed in future studies. 

In August 2020, a few pictures went viral and became talking points on the web. One of these pictures featured a mask with a digitally printed design — that looks like vitiligo — on premium cotton fabric. 

Saran Kohli’s label created masks representing vitiligo to serve as an ice-breaker in conversations about the chronic, skin condition. The London-based menswear fashion designer established his self-titled label in 2016. Having dealt with vitiligo since his teenage years, Saran discovered a great way to bring down the stigma around the skin condition. 

In 2020, when Saran’s label added personal protective equipment to his label’s portfolio, he used his expertise and platform to design and create something that would represent vitiligo in a visual form. “As face masks are the need of the hour for everyone during this pandemic, my illustrator friend Mira Abad and I decided to design a print that shows vitiligo on all skin tones,” Saran told a media outlet. 

We hope with initiatives like these, people with vitiligo would feel represented, have conversations openly, and further educate others about a harmless skin condition that has been socially stigmatized for centuries.

You can always rely on a bully’s hurtful comments in making you feel insecure, but sometimes they end up accidentally highlighting something unique about you. An active Reddit user, Gabriela Romero was diagnosed with vitiligo at the age of 15. She’s been called “cow” and “dalmatian” ever since her diagnosis.

To flip the script, the makeup artist turned those hurtful comments into a gorgeous eye makeup look, inspired by the cow and dalmatian animal prints – something frequently used in fashion trends. After posting the look to Reddit’s Makeup Addiction thread, hundreds of comments flooded the post with support. Result? Romero was contacted by Allure’s representatives and she ended up being interviewed by the magazine.  

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