Vitiligo: Should I hide it from my colleagues?


[lightbox full=”http://www.askdrshah.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/vitiligo-hide.jpg” title=”Vitiligo: Should I hide it from my colleagues?”]Vitiligo: Should I hide it from my colleagues?[/lightbox]A young man of 24 years, working in a multinational IT company in New Delhi, came to me this morning with the complain of Vitiligo on his legs, shoulders, and some mild spots on left foot. It was just another case of vitiligo. I evaluated his case and was almost done with making a prescription for him. While saying good bye, he said something which made me discuss the point with him for additional ten minutes.

He said that he is sharing an apartment with three other young men working in the same company. He further said that he has always been hiding his vitiligo spots from his colleagues in the apartment, by wearing full length nightwear and socks. He always carefully kept his vitiligo spots out of sight from others.

And, this behavior among the vitiligo is not uncommon.

The issue is that the patients with vitiligo often feel one or more of the following emotions due to this social disease:

  1. Shyness
  2. Low self-confidence
  3. Guilt
  4. Fear of rejection.

As I always tell my vitiligo patients, that, vitiligo is not worth worrying about. However, I know it that it is easier said than done. When you have some loss of pigment, and when you live in a society, which gives importance to ‘color’ due to wrong notions about it, it is tough for many to bear with vitiligo.

Shyness is experienced because vitiligo limits your physical look. Actually, it is more in the mind. However, due to vitiligo one tends to feel a bit embarrassed, leading to shyness. This be due to the feeling that ‘vitiligo is a sign of something not right, something grossly wrong’.

Low self-confidence is experienced due to shyness.

Guilt is experienced by some or many, due to faulty concept that ‘vitiligo results due to having done something wrong’. The feeling that something is not right, gives the sense of guilt. Well, vitiligo is just like any other disease, such a diabetes or asthma or migraine, where no one feels guilty! Then, why feel guilty due to vitiligo?

Fear of rejection by friends and society, is a major concern for most vitiligo patients. This again arises from the general perception about vitiligo in the society as if ‘vitiligo is a sign of something wrong’.

So all in all, vitiligo is tagged with ‘something wrong’. Vitiligo is medically not a serious disease. Wrong notions the society and people have, simply due to ignorance about vitiligo, have made life difficult for those people having vitiligo.

My advise to all those who have vitiligo, is not to hide the spots but to show sportsman spirit and let the world know about it. As I always say, you have to accept your vitiligo, before you expect others to accept your vitiligo.  There is no need whatsoever to feel shy or guilty if you have vitiligo. Do not hide your vitiligo, as you do not hide your allergies or migraine or diabetes.

Vitiligo is not a serious disease.

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