Cut The Clutter – Is Vitiligo associated with Skin Cancer?

Hand With Vitiligo

If you have vitiligo, you might have noticed that depigmented parts of your skin are often getting sunburnt, which poses an important question – “Is vitiligo anyway associated with skin cancer?” It is okay to get confused about the association between the two especially when plenty of information available on the same is misleading. Worry not. We are here to cut this clutter for you.

In this resource, you will learn the connection between vitiligo and skin cancer, ways to protect your vitiliginous skin, and early warning signs of skin cancer.

Decoding the association between vitiligo and skin cancer 

From the early 1970s, researchers have brought out the possibility of a person living with vitiligo and skin cancer together. For years, many believed that “vitiligo could put you at higher skin cancer risk in the absence of melanin that protects your skin from the sun. In vitiligo, the unpigmented patches are especially likely to sunburn, which can lead to sun damage – something known to increase skin cancer risk. This made many experts believe that people with vitiligo are three times less likely to develop melanoma than those without the condition. However, despite the increased sunburn risk, recent studies make it clear that vitiligo doesn’t appear to cause skin cancer.

However, regardless of your skin cancer risk, it’s always good to protect your skin as a bad sunburn could make your vitiligo worse (according to the American Academy of Dermatology). Besides, some kind of skin protection is always good to prevent your vitiligo from spreading and manage symptoms. Wearing sunscreen can also help you protect your skin from damage or dermatillomania.

Ways to protect your vitiliginous skin from sunburn

The myth of vitiligo causing skin cancer is pervasive. So, don’t let that cause you stress. Instead, focus on taking good care of your skin. Use sunscreen every day, reapplying every two hours when you’re outside. You must reapply sunscreen more when you are sweating or in the water. Other than this, wearing protective clothing, taking prescribed Vitamin D3 supplements, and not using tanning beds or sunlamps are good alternatives.

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