About Michael ::. 'Vitiligo'|
Michael Jackson has a skin disorder called 'Vitiligo'!
banal physiological disorder causes a depigmentation of the skin causing blotchy
white patches. Often there is a family tendency to develop the condition. Two
people in every 100 suffer from this condition, so Michael is definitely not
'Vitiligo' can occur at any stage in life, and Michael has mentioned that
he first noticed that he had the disorder when he was in his 20's.
Because of his 'Vitiligo' Michael Jackson cannot go out into the sun.
said that he is completely allergic to the sun, and that he really isn't even
supposed to go outside at all.
By wearing the silk face mask, along with long
sleeved clothing, pants, sunglasses and his fedora Michael can go outside and
enjoy himself just as everyone else can.
NEVER bleached his skin or tried to make his skin lighter.
All rumors saying
that he has done this, are simply not true!
He has tried to even out the blotches on his skin by using make up to cover them
up! That is the reason why he is using so much cosmetics.
Source: [EMJ, 'The
Family Medical Guide', 'Michael Jackson Talks to Oprah', The 'Vitiligo' Society
website UK, MJ -
'VH1' and 'Simulchat' interviews]
You can log on to the 'Vitiligo' Society website by visiting
to find out more about this disorder.
What Is 'Vitiligo'?
'Vitiligo' (vit-ill-EYE-go) is a pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes (the
cells that make pigment) in the skin, the mucous membranes (tissues that
the inside of the mouth and nose and genital and rectal areas), and the retina
(inner layer of the eyeball) are destroyed. As a result, white patches
appear on different parts of the body.
The hair that grows in areas affected by
'Vitiligo' usually turns white.
The cause of 'Vitiligo' is not known, but doctors and researchers have several
different theories. One theory is that people develop antibodies that destroy
the melanocytes in their own bodies. Another theory is that melanocytes destroy
Finally, some people have reported that a single event such as
sunburn or emotional distress triggered 'vitiligo'; however, these events have not
been scientifically proven to cause 'Vitiligo'.
Who Is Affected by 'Vitiligo'?
About 1 to 2 percent of the world's population, or 40 to 50 million people, have
'Vitiligo'. In the United States, 2 to 5 million people have the disorder.
Ninety-five percent of people who have 'Vitiligo' develop it before their 40th
birthday. The disorder affects all races and both sexes equally.
'Vitiligo' seems to be more common in people with certain autoimmune diseases
(diseases in which a person's immune system reacts against the body's own organs
or tissues). These autoimmune diseases include hyperthyroidism (an overactive
thyroid gland), adrenocortical insufficiency (the adrenal gland does not produce
enough of the hormone called corticosteroid), alopecia areata (patches of
baldness), and pernicious anemia (a low level of red blood cells caused by
failure of the body to absorb vitamin B-12). Scientists do not know the reason
for the association between 'vitiligo' and these autoimmune diseases. However,
most people with 'vitiligo' have no other autoimmune disease.
'Vitiligo' may also be hereditary, that is, it can run in families. Children whose
parents have the disorder are more likely to develop 'vitiligo'. However, most
children will not get 'vitiligo' even if a parent has it, and most people with
vitiligo do not have a family history of the disorder.
What Are the Symptoms of Vitiligo?
People who develop 'Vitiligo' usually first notice white patches (depigmentation)
on their skin. These patches are more common in sun-exposed areas, including the
hands, feet, arms, face, and lips. Other common areas for white patches to
appear are the armpits and groin and around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, navel,
'Vitiligo' generally appears in one of three patterns. In one pattern (focal
pattern), the depigmentation is limited to one or only a few areas. Some people
develop depigmented patches on only one side of their bodies (segmental
pattern). But for most people who have 'vitiligo', depigmentation occurs on
different parts of the body (generalized pattern). In addition to white patches
on the skin, people with vitiligo may have premature graying of the scalp hair,
eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard. People with dark skin may notice a loss of color
inside their mouths.
Will the Depigmented Patches Spread?
There is no way to predict if 'vitiligo' will spread. For some people, the
depigmented patches do not spread. The disorder is usually progressive, however,
and over time the white patches will spread to other areas of the body. For some
people, 'vitiligo' spreads slowly, over many years. For other people, spreading
occurs rapidly. Some people have reported additional depigmentation following
periods of physical or emotional stress.
How Is Vitiligo Diagnosed?
If a doctor suspects that a person has 'vitiligo', he or she usually begins by
asking the person about his or her medical history. Important factors in a
person's medical history are a family history of vitiligo; a rash, sunburn, or
other skin trauma at the site of 'vitiligo' 2 to 3 months before depigmentation
started; stress or physical illness; and premature (before age 35) graying of
the hair. In addition, the doctor will need to know whether the patient or
anyone in the patient's family has had any autoimmune diseases and whether the
patient is very sensitive to the sun. The doctor will then examine the patient
to rule out other medical problems. The doctor may take a small sample (biopsy)
of the affected skin. He or she may also take a blood sample to check the
blood-cell count and thyroid function. For some patients, the doctor may
recommend an eye examination to check for uveitis (inflammation of part of the
eye). A blood test to look for the presence of antinuclear antibodies (a type of
autoantibody) may also be done. This test helps determine if the patient has
another autoimmune disease.
How Can People Cope With the Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Vitiligo?
The change in appearance caused by 'vitiligo' can affect a person's emotional and
psychological well-being and may create difficulty in getting or keeping a job.
People with this disorder can experience emotional stress, particularly if
vitiligo develops on visible areas of the body, such as the face, hands, arms,
feet, or on the genitals. Adolescents, who are often particularly concerned
about their appearance, can be devastated by widespread 'vitiligo'. Some people
who have 'vitiligo' feel embarrassed, ashamed, depressed, or worried about how
others will react.
Several strategies can help a person cope with vitiligo. First, it is important
to find a doctor who is knowledgeable about vitiligo and takes the disorder
seriously. The doctor should also be a good listener and be able to provide
emotional support. Patients need to let their doctors know if they are feeling
depressed because doctors and other mental health professionals can help people
deal with depression. Patients should also learn as much as possible about the
disorder and treatment choices so that they can participate in making important
decisions about medical care.
Talking with other people who have vitiligo may also help a person cope. The
National Vitiligo Foundation can provide information about vitiligo and refer
people to local chapters that have support groups of patients, families, and
physicians. Family and friends are another source of support.
Some people with vitiligo have found that cosmetics that cover the white patches
improve their appearance and help them feel better about themselves. A person
may need to experiment with several brands of concealing cosmetics before
finding the product that works best.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
The goal of treating 'vitiligo' is to restore the function of the skin and to
improve the patient's appearance. Therapy for 'vitiligo' takes a long time it
usually must be continued for 6 to 18 months. The choice of therapy depends on
the number of white patches and how widespread they are and on the patient's
preference for treatment. Each patient responds differently to therapy, and a
particular treatment may not work for everyone. Current treatment options for 'vitiligo' include medical, surgical, and adjunctive therapies (therapies that can
be used along with surgical or medical treatments).
Some patients with 'vitiligo' cover depigmented patches with stains, makeup, or
self-tanning lotions. These cosmetic products can be particularly effective for
people whose vitiligo is limited to exposed areas of the body. Dermablend, Lydia
O'Leary, Clinique, Fashion Flair, Vitadye, and Chromelin offer makeup or dyes
that patients may find helpful for covering up depigmented patches.
Counseling and Support Groups
Many people with 'Vitiligo' find it helpful to get counseling from a mental health
professional. People often find they can talk to their counselor about issues
that are difficult to discuss with anyone else. A mental health counselor can
also offer patients support and help in coping with vitiligo. In addition, it
may be helpful to attend a vitiligo support group.
What Research Is Being Done on Vitiligo?
For more than a decade, research on how melanocytes play a role in vitiligo has
greatly increased. This includes research on autologous melanocyte transplants. At the University of Colorado, NIAMS supports a large collaborative project
involving families with 'Vitiligo' in the United States and the United Kingdom.
date, over 2,400 patients are involved. It is hoped that genetic analysis of
these families will uncover the location and possibly the specific gene or
genes--conferring susceptibility to the disease. Doctors and researchers
continue to look for the causes of and new treatments for 'Vitiligo'.