Vitiligo is a surprisingly common condition, affecting 1 in 100 children and adults, and causes pale, white patches to develop on the body where the skin has lost its pigmentation. This occurs when a particular area of skin has little or none of a type of pigment called melanin, which is the dye-like substance in the skin cells (melanocytes) that gives skin colour and protects it from the sun’s rays. As a result, sufferers have a greatly increased risk of skin cancer, and the patchy appearance of the skin can also be a great cause of distress. Vitiligo is incurable and can spread on a person’s body, but is not contagious. It affects people of both sexes equally, all races, and can begin at any age, though about fifty percent of people with the condition develop it before the age of twenty five. But you’re not alone. Ever wondered what those white patches in Graham Norton’s hair are? It’s vitiligo!
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