Conflict of interest: none declared.
Vitiligo is more than skin deep: a survey of members of the Vitiligo Society
Article first published online: 8 DEC 2009
© 2009 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2009 British Association of Dermatologists
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology
Volume 35, Issue 7, pages 736–739, October 2010
How to Cite
Talsania, N., Lamb, B. and Bewley, A. (2010), Vitiligo is more than skin deep: a survey of members of the Vitiligo Society. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 35: 736–739. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2009.03765.x
- Issue published online: 10 SEP 2010
- Article first published online: 8 DEC 2009
- Accepted for publication 6 September 2009
Background. Vitiligo is a common, largely acquired skin disease of unknown aetiology, which causes a variable amount of skin and hair depigmentation in affected people. It affects over half a million people in the UK alone, and a massive 50 million people worldwide.
Aim. To quantify the psychosocial burden of vitiligo in the UK, by estimating its effect on daily life.
Methods. All members (n = 1790) of the Vitiligo Society, a UK national patient support group, were sent a questionnaire. Survey questions included demographics, disease-related characteristics, effect of vitiligo on daily life, and psychosocial support measures for patients with vitiligo.
Results. In total, 520 (29% of members) responded, of which 354 (68%) were women. Vitiligo affected the hands in 414 (80%) and the face in 394 (76%) of the respondents. Over half (56.6%) of respondents indicated that vitiligo moderately or severely affects their quality of life (QOL). Finding a cure or effective lasting treatment was the main priority for most affected respondents. Most respondents obtain information about their disease from nonmedical sources: 431 (83%) from the Vitiligo Society and 129 (25%) from the internet, compared with 61 (12.5%) from dermatologists.
Conclusion. Vitiligo is a skin condition that moderately or severely affects the QOL of most patients. Although most patients look for a cure or long-lasting treatment, only 12.5% of respondents to our survey had obtained information from a dermatologist. Vitiligo is a common condition that affects more than the skin, and has profound psychosocial implications for affected patients.