Vitiligo doesn’t discriminate, no matter if you’re black or white.
The autoimmune condition, which affects 100 million people worldwide, attacks a person’s pigment cells and turn the skin white.
It affects all ethnicities and its most famous patient was pop star Michael Jackson.
Many Australians living with the condition, unlike the King of Pop, do their best to shy away from the spotlight and suffer in silence.
Maryrose, who didn’t want her last name published, says the condition has affected her confidence and social life.
“I wanted to hide it all the time. It wasn’t me,” she told AAP on Wednesday.
“I cover when I go out. I don’t go to the beach anymore unless I am surrounded by friends who support me.”
Maryrose has been having specialised laser treatment three times a week for more than 10 years, despite an increased risk of skin cancer, to help return pigment to her skin.
The cause of the disease is unclear, but it is not genetic and is believed to be caused by a “badly behaved” immune system.
But doctors are now bringing advanced technology to Australia to help patients combat the condition.
First used in Europe over a decade ago, non-cultured cellular epidermal grafting helps return colour to white patches.
Dermatologist Michelle Rodrigues said the treatment has a 70 to 80 per cent success rate on selected patients.
Victoria will be the first state to offer the new technology.
The announcement came on World Vitiligo Day, first observed on June 25, 2011 to coincide with the date of Jackson’s death.
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