It is not easy to live with the problem of vitiligo, indeed. Though the disease is neither life-threatening nor contagious, it can be devastating due to the resulting disfigurement. However, you should never ever feel down for the unappealing vitiligo marks on your skin. In fact, there are tons of people who are quite proud of their white patches and do not bother covering them up and looking flawless. But if you still want to camouflage vitiligo, all you need do is embrace the power of makeup. We give you the causes, symptoms, treatments, and 7 simple steps to conceal vitiligo effectively.
What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a long-term skin disease, which affects almost 0.5 to 2% of people around the world (1). In this condition, you start developing light or white patches on your skin as a result of pigment (melanin) loss. It is typically caused by inactivity or destruction of the melanocyte cells, which are basically melanin-producing cells in our body. As melanocytes no longer produce melanin, the skin in that part of the body loses its color and turns white. Vitiligo is also a photo-sensitive condition, which makes the troubled parts of the skin more sensitive to sunlight than the rest of the body. It mostly affects the areas like face, arms, hands, feet, nostrils, inside the mouth, back of the eyes, genitals, etc.
Causes of VItiligo
Scientists are yet to know about the exact causes of vitiligo. However, a few factors that can contribute to this issue include autoimmune disorders (2), heredity, stressful events, genetic oxidative stress imbalance, critical sunburns, chemical exposure, neural complications, viral attack, and so on.
Symptoms of Vitiligo
In vitiligo, flat white spots or patches of irregular shapes appear in an area of the skin, which is often exposed to the sun. What looks like a small spot starts turning paler than the remaining part of the skin and turns white in color eventually. The edge of the spots gets inflamed and turns slightly red, which can rarely be accompanied by itchiness. Usually, the symptoms of vitiligo range from a handful of small white spots to larger white patches based on individuals.
Vitiligo can be ‘non-segmental’ and ‘segmental’. Almost 90% cases of vitiligo are non-segmental in which semi-symmetrical patches develop in a very slow manner. In segmental vitiligo, the patches are mostly non-symmetrical and they spread more rapidly. (3)
Skin Camouflage Technique for Vitiligo
Skin camouflage is a non-invasive treatment, which gives temporary yet fast results for vitiligo patients. In this technique, remedial cosmetic cover creams are used to disguise the patches of vitiligo. Typically, a high concentration of pigment is added to anhydrous foundations in order to create a perfect shade of color that matches the tone of the patient’s skin. This is a great way to camouflage mild vitiligo, especially for dark-skinned individuals. It improves their quality of life and reduces their distress significantly by preventing them from being self-conscious. (4)
How to Conceal Vitiligo with Makeup
You can conceal white vitiligo patches on your skin just by using some good makeup products and following a few simple tricks. Let’s see the steps to conceal vitiligo with makeup so that nobody can even understand that you have it:
1. Choose the Right Foundation
The key to concealing vitiligo with makeup is finding the perfect shade of foundation. Make sure that the shade of your chosen foundation is closest to your actual skin tone or just one shade darker.
- There are many opaque foundations from brands like Microskin, ColorTradition, and Dermablend, which are specifically made for skin afflicted with vitiligo. The ingredients used in such foundations are hypoallergenic and do not aggravate the skin condition.
- If you do not find the right kind of specialized foundations, go for a regular full coverage one (water-based or cream-based depending on your skin type). Vichy has some amazing high coverage foundations that go with a variety of skin tones and have worked for many women with vitiligo.
Read Also – How to Apply Liquid Foundation – Tips and Tricks
2. Prep Up the Skin
Once you are done with the selection of foundation, start with the most basic step i.e. preparing your skin for the makeup. Cleanse the skin well with a mild cleanser (a herbal one is even better) that suits your skin and moisturize it thoroughly with a high-quality moisturizing cream or lotion. Apply a primer all over the clean and moisturized skin to allow for easy blending and absorption of the foundation.
Always try to use a moisturizer that provides average to high sun protection along with intensive moisturization. A moisturizer with at least SPF 20 is a good choice to start with.
3. Apply Concealer and Foundation
Now, as your skin is ready to use makeup, start with concealing the white patches carefully. You must have picked a concealer that is a shade darker than your original skin tone. Make sure that you apply it on the patches in small dots and blend well by moving your fingers in circular motions.
After that, top the concealer with the foundation you picked. Be careful with its application as you need to follow a simple trick at this step. First, apply it precisely on the white patches and keep blending until they look even-toned. Once done, dot the foundation on the remaining part of your face and blend thoroughly to get a uniform skin tone. Let the makeup dry for about five minutes. Then, check the shade of your skin and apply another coat of foundation if need be.
You can apply foundation in multiple thin coats. Start from the centers of the white patches and work outwards as you blend it with your fingertips.
4. Powder Up to Even Out
Now, it is time to seal the makeup to ensure that the white patches stay hidden for a long period of time. For this, dust some loose translucent powder all over your facial skin. It helps reduce unwanted shine by absorbing excess oil. It also helps in evening out the skin tone more efficiently. Press the powder well with a puff and then brush off the excess amount.
5. Use the Right Bronzer
After creating an even skin tone, it is time to get a more natural look with the help of a bronzer. Choose a product that is one shade darker than your real skin color in order to emulate a beautiful sun-kissed glow. Apply it to the forehead, tip of the nose, and cheekbones until you get an illusion of a darker skin tone.
Read Also – Recipes of Natural Homemade Bronzer
6. Do Your Eyes and Lips
As you are done with the face makeup, focus on the eyes and lips now. Highlight your eyes with your favorite kohl pencil and fill your lips with a striking lip color. This will draw the attention away from your skin and take it onto the eyes and the lips. However, keep your eye and lip makeup compatible with the makeup of the rest of your face so that you achieve an absolutely natural appearance.
7. Finish with a Fixing Spray
Finally, it is essential to keep the makeup in place by following all possible means so that the white vitiligo patches do not end up getting revealed after some time. Since you have used so many layers of makeup, spritz on a fixing spray all over the makeup to set it and prevent it from smudging.
Make sure to use waterproof makeup products if you tend to sweat a lot. Also, it is important to remove the makeup at the end of the day.
Available Treatment Options for Vitiligo
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), vitiligo is more than just a cosmetic issue (5) and its visibility should be reduced with the help of following remedies:
- Sunscreen: Prevents the photosensitive lighter patches on the skin from burning (6)
- Phototherapy with UV Light: The affected part of the skin is exposed to ultraviolet lamps (both UVA and UVB) for re-pigmentation
- Depigmentation: Involves the application of strong topical creams containing monobenzone, hydroquinone, mequinol, etc. for depigmenting the unaffected parts of the skin
- Topical Corticosteroid: Stops the white patches from spreading and restores them to their original color
- Calcipotriene (Dovonex): This vitamin D ointment is used in combination with corticosteroids
- Skin Grafting: A surgical procedure in which the affected parts are covered by healthy patches of pigmented skin
- Tattooing: In this method, the pigment is implemented into the patchy areas of the skin surgically
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that needs extended periods of treatment to fade away completely. However, while battling the disorder with medicines or home remedies, you can also opt for makeup as instant and temporary solutions. But it is essential not to lose self-confidence in any condition if you have visible patches on your face or hands.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Does Skin Camouflage Last for Vitiligo?
If the right products are applied the right way, skin camouflage results can last around 12-18 hours on the face and almost 96 hours on the rest of the body.
Does Dermablend Cover Vitiligo?
Dermablend is a dermatologist recommended brand for vitiligo makeup. It offers high-performance foundation & concealer products that can cover vitiligo patches beautifully. The products are also non-comedogenic, sensitive-skin tested, allergy-tested, and fragrance-free.
Is Sunlight Bad for Vitiligo?
As vitiligo makes the affected parts of the skin photosensitive, it is important to keep those areas protected from the sunlight. It is even more true in the case of people with fair skin.
How Fast Does Vitiligo Spread?
Well, this cannot be predicted. For some people, vitiligo does not spread at all while for others, it spreads slowly for many years.
Is Vitiligo a Form of Leprosy?
No, vitiligo is in no way linked to leprosy. It is non-contagious and non-infectious.
- “A Review of the Worldwide Prevalence of Vitiligo in Children/Adolescents and Adults“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Evidence for an Autoimmune Pathogenesis of Vitiligo“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Understanding the Symptoms of Vitiligo“, MedicalNewsToday.com
- “Cosmetic Camouflage in Vitiligo“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Is Vitiligo a Medical Condition?“, AAD.org
- “Vitiligo Discomfort Stops with Sunscreen Use“, AAD.org