Over the counter

We took a break for a while. It seems like the whole world took a pause for a moment. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shifted everything – physical, emotional, and spiritual perspectives and mindsets.

I want to continue with my overview of vitiligo treatments. (Check out previous posts: Different Strokes, What’s Up Doc?, and Second Opinion). I decided to dedicate a few posts to discussing some of the options out there because I believe that awareness is important to making the best choices for yourself. I guess that’s the scientist side of me. Trust me…I fully understand that moving about this world with a visible difference can be challenging, and just because I don’t cover up or seek treatment, doesn’t mean I don’t respect each and every person’s decision to do so or not.

There are creams, phototherapies, skin grafts, bleaching, etc. These are all doctor prescribed or supervised treatments; but there are some over the counter routines that have helped many to manage their vitiligo.

Sunscreen is a protective agent, more than a treatment. Melanin in your skin cells helps to protect it against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. However, with vitiligo, your skin is not producing enough of the protective melanin, leaving you at a severe risk of sunburn and even long-term damage from prolonged exposure to sun. It goes without saying…but tanning beds are a big No-No for someone with vitiligo! This is in contrast to photochemotherapy that uses short, targeted exposure to UV light (seconds to minutes) to stimulate melanin production before its damaging effects kick in. Ideally, a broad spectrum sunscreen (protecting against both UVA and UVB) with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above is sufficient.

Cosmetics offer the ability to cover up or camouflage your vitiligo patches (or at least the ones exposed to the public). Make up lines now range into colors that complement darker skin tones. They must be applied daily, but some are pretty long lasting if you use setting powders or waterproof lines. Alternatively, there are some dyes that can be applied to lighter patches of skin and last up to a few days. You apply enough coats of the dye until it provides the desired coverage across your skin tones.

When I was preparing for the photo shoot and filming of Irene’s Story, my make up artist Playful Faces did an EXCELLENT job matching my color. She used an air brush and the coverage was a perfect match. But it took hours to apply and dry.

Jocelyn’s not just an MUA, she’s a body artist.

Stay tuned as I share a bit of about my past regiments and experiences…

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