A lot of people with vitiligo are self-conscious of their look, especially if the white patches show on their face, neck or hands, and that can make them reluctant to seek help. There are two specific areas where the pharmacist offers information: the right utilization of sunscreens and the use of skin camouflage products.
Sunscreens absorb or reflect ultraviolet radiation before it reaches the skin. However, many sunscreens offer better protection against UVB (short wavelength UV radiation) than UVA (longer wavelength). Because vitiliginous skin is extremely vulnerable to sunburn, there are numerous of sunscreens seen on the National Health Service, however, many people who have vitiligo cover up have no idea this. These kinds of products happen in appendix 7 of your British National Formulary (borderline substances) which is within the patient’s interest to be informed that sunscreens should be used and can be acquired on prescription.
In case a sunscreen is prescribed, it can be important to make sure that the individual is told how, and how often, to make use of it. Sunscreens should be applied liberally and even for good protection, they ought to be reapplied approximately every hour when the person is outside over a sunny day. However, this is usually a problem in case the wearer also uses skin camouflage products.
It is additionally helpful to make sure that the patient is content with the sunscreen selected from the general practitioner – no sunscreen is useful to your patient when it is not used. For children of school age, roll-on sunscreens are particularly useful because they are often self-applied with little spillage or embarrassment. Indeed, they may be considered a “cool” item to get in one’s school bag. Many GPs and patients is definitely not conscious that tinted sunscreens are also viti1igo on prescription. These will offer both colour and sun protection for that depigmented patches and they are particularly great for children, or for everyone who would like to disguise the patches but would not feel relaxed using skin camouflage.
Should an individual with vitiligo request assistance in choosing from the huge selection of non-prescribable sunscreens available, they will be advised to utilize one containing both UVA and UVB protection. When it comes to everyone with vitiligo, whatever their ethnic origin, their vitiliginous skin must be treated as type 1 skin (always burns, never tans), which happens to be typical of individuals with fair skin, light eyes and freckles. They therefore demand a sun protection factor of 25 or over. Considerations when recommending products include ease of application, staying power, absorption and stickiness.
Should an individual report that he / she always burns, whichever sunscreen is utilized, the pharmacist should find out how this product will be applied. It is also important to find out if the patient has taken drugs for virtually any other condition so that you can eliminate any drug-induced photosensitivity. Enquiries about any “health” products being taken are also useful because several herbs might cause photosensitivity. For example, lots of people tend not to realise that for people who have vitiligo, herbal products for example St John’s wort can do more harm than good.