The majority of people with vitiligo are self-conscious of their appearance, particularly if the white patches appear on their face, neck or hands, and also this may make them hesitant to seek help. The two main specific areas when the pharmacist can offer information: the appropriate consumption of sunscreens and the usage 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 extremely prone to sunburn, there are a variety of sunscreens seen on the National Health Service, but a majority of those with vitiligo cure do not know this. These kinds of products show up in appendix 7 in the British National Formulary (borderline substances) which is in the patient’s interest being informed that sunscreens ought to be used and can be obtained on prescription.
When a sunscreen continues to be prescribed, it is actually important to make sure that the person continues to be told how, and exactly how often, to apply it. Sunscreens ought to be applied liberally and even for good protection, they must be reapplied approximately every hour if the person is outside with a sunny day. However, this is usually a problem if the wearer also uses skin camouflage products.
Additionally it is necessary to be sure that the patient is pleased with the sunscreen selected by the general practitioner – no sunscreen is beneficial to a patient when it is not used. For kids of school age, roll-on sunscreens are particularly useful because they can be self-applied with little spillage or embarrassment. Indeed, they may be seen as a “cool” item to get in one’s school bag. Many GPs and patients will not be aware that tinted sunscreens may also be viti1igo on prescription. These will offer both colour and sun protection for that depigmented patches and they are particularly ideal for children, or for anyone who wishes to disguise the patches but would not feel relaxed using skin camouflage.
Should somebody with vitiligo request assistance in selecting in the vast range of non-prescribable sunscreens available, they should 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 ought to be treated as type 1 skin (always burns, never tans), which happens to be typical of men and women with fair skin, light eyes and freckles. They therefore require a sun protection factor of 25 or above. Considerations when recommending products include easy application, staying power, absorption and stickiness.
Should a patient report that she / he always burns, no matter which sunscreen is utilized, the pharmacist should learn how this product will be applied. It is additionally important to inquire if the sufferer has taken drugs for any other condition as a way to exclude any drug-induced photosensitivity. Enquiries about any “health” products being taken are also useful because numerous herbs could cause photosensitivity. For instance, many individuals will not realise that for those who have vitiligo, herbal products such as St John’s wort can do more damage than good.