Most people with vitiligo are self-conscious about their appearance, especially if the white patches show up on their face, neck or hands, which might make them reluctant to seek help. There are 2 specific areas in which the pharmacist can provide information: the proper utilization of sunscreens and the application of skin camouflage products.
Sunscreens absorb or reflect ultraviolet radiation before it reaches your skin layer. However, many sunscreens offer better protection against UVB (short wavelength UV radiation) than UVA (longer wavelength). Because vitiliginous skin is specially susceptible to sunburn, there are many of sunscreens seen on the National Health Service, however, many people with vitiligo cure have no idea this. These items happen in appendix 7 in the British National Formulary (borderline substances) and it is within the patient’s interest to get informed that sunscreens ought to be used and can be obtained on prescription.
In case a sunscreen continues to be prescribed, it really is important to make certain the person has been told how, and just how often, to use it. Sunscreens needs to be applied liberally and for good protection, they must be reapplied approximately every hour when the person is outside on the sunny day. However, this could be a problem if the wearer also uses skin camouflage products.
It is additionally necessary to be sure that the patient is happy with the sunscreen selected from the general practitioner – no sunscreen is effective to a patient should it be not used. For kids of school age, roll-on sunscreens are particularly useful because they could be self-applied with little spillage or embarrassment. Indeed, they may be seen as a “cool” item to possess in one’s school bag. Many GPs and patients will not be conscious that tinted sunscreens are also viti1igo on prescription. These will offer both colour and sun protection for the depigmented patches and so are particularly useful for children, or for anybody who would like to disguise the patches but would not feel relaxed using skin camouflage.
Should somebody with vitiligo request assistance in picking from the vast range of non-prescribable sunscreens available, they should be advised to use one containing both UVA and UVB protection. In the case of everybody with vitiligo, whatever their ethnic origin, their vitiliginous skin should be treated as type 1 skin (always burns, never tans), which happens to be typical of folks with fair skin, light eyes and freckles. They therefore require a sun protection factor of 25 or above. Considerations when recommending products include ease of application, staying power, absorption and stickiness.
Should a patient report that he or she always burns, no matter what sunscreen can be used, the pharmacist should see how the item has been applied. Also, it is vital that you inquire if the sufferer has taken drugs for just about any other condition so that you can rule out any drug-induced photosensitivity. Enquiries about any “health” products being taken will also be useful because several herbs can cause photosensitivity. As an example, lots of people do not realise that for people who have vitiligo, herbal products including St John’s wort can perform more damage than good.