Understanding vitiligo: 'It is not infectious or life-threatening' says expert

Gugu Mhlungu spoke to Proactive Health Solutions CEO, Dr Fundile Nyati on the cause and treatment of the skin condition on this World Vitiligo Day.

Actress, Leleti Khumalo embraces her skin condition called Vitiligo. Picture:@leletikhumalo/Instagram.

June 25 marks World Vitiligo Day - a day that aims to raise awareness about the condition and recognise the 100 million people affected by the disease.

Vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells called melanocytes die or malfunction. It is depicted by patches of skin with a lighter colour than other parts of the body and often happens as an auto-immune response, where one’s immune system attacks their pigment cells, or it was inherited from a parent to their child.

Gugu Mhlungu spoke to Proactive health Solutions CEO, Dr Fundile Nyati on the cause and treatment of the skin condition.

Nyati said the areas close to an opening or orifice- like a person’s mouth - are more likely to exhibit vitiligo. He added that vitiligo affects people all over the world but is more noticeable in people with a darker complexion.

The medical doctor said besides the affected individuals being more prone to sunburn, the disease is not life-threatening or largely life-altering.

The most observed side effect is the stigma attached to the skin condition that sometimes leaves people feeling socially isolated, explained Nyathi, adding that people with the condition were susceptible to bullying, stigmatisation, social neglect and psychological trauma.

In general... it is not life-threatening, it's a condition you can live with and in fact a number of people are taking pride accepting that there is nothing that they can do about changing the cause... The biggest issue is the social and psychological distress.

Dr Fundile Nyati, Medical doctor and proactive health Solutions CEO,

Vitiligo does not have a cure but there are measures to reduce the progression of the disease.

Listen to the full interview below:

This article first appeared on 702 : Understanding vitiligo: 'It is not infectious or life-threatening' says expert