The majority of people with vitiligo are self-aware of their appearance, particularly when the white patches display on their face, neck or hands, and also this may make them unwilling to seek help. There are 2 specific areas when the pharmacist can offer information: the proper use of sunscreens and the use of skin camouflage products.
Sunscreens absorb or reflect ultraviolet radiation before it reaches your skin. However, many sunscreens offer better protection against UVB (short wavelength UV radiation) than UVA (longer wavelength). Because vitiliginous skin is especially susceptible to sunburn, there are a number of sunscreens located on the National Health Service, but many individuals with makeup to cover vitiligo have no idea this. These items happen in appendix 7 from the British National Formulary (borderline substances) in fact it is within the patient’s interest to get informed that sunscreens must be used and can be found on prescription.
When a sunscreen has become prescribed, it is actually beneficial to make sure that the sufferer continues to be told how, and exactly how often, to use it. Sunscreens must be applied liberally and even for good protection, they ought to be reapplied approximately every hour in the event the individual is outside over a sunny day. However, this could be a problem in case the wearer also uses skin camouflage products.
Also, it is useful to be sure that the person is satisfied with the sunscreen selected through the general practitioner – no sunscreen is effective to a patient should it be not used. For the kids of school age, roll-on sunscreens are particularly useful because they may be self-applied with little spillage or embarrassment. Indeed, they may be thought of as a “cool” item to have in one’s school bag. Many GPs and patients will not be conscious that tinted sunscreens may also be viti1igo on prescription. These will offer both colour and sun protection to the depigmented patches and therefore are particularly ideal for children, or for anybody who wishes to disguise the patches but would not feel comfortable using skin camouflage.
Should somebody with vitiligo request assistance in selecting in the huge selection of non-prescribable sunscreens available, they should be advised to work with one containing both UVA and UVB protection. When it comes to everybody with vitiligo, whatever their ethnic origin, their vitiliginous skin must be treated as type 1 skin (always burns, never tans), which is typical of men and women with fair skin, light eyes and freckles. They therefore need a sun protection factor of 25 or higher. Considerations when recommending products include comfort of application, staying power, absorption and stickiness.
Should the patient report that she / he always burns, regardless of what sunscreen is used, the pharmacist should learn how the item has been applied. It is additionally vital that you ask if the sufferer takes drugs for virtually any other condition as a way to exclude any drug-induced photosensitivity. Enquiries about any “health” products being taken can also be useful because a number of herbs might cause photosensitivity. By way of example, a lot of people usually do not realise that for people who have vitiligo, herbal products for example St John’s wort is capable of doing more damage than good.