Gemma (age 27): This case study, Vitiligo Lip Treatment – Case Study, is a story based on fact, but the names of the people involved have been changed to respect their privacy. The story demonstrates a true account of real events, told as truthfully as replication and effect allow.
Vitiligo Lip Treatment – Case Study
Gemma’s parents emigrated from Italy to Franschhoek, Western Cape (South Africa) in 1989 and opened a small restaurant, specialising in southern Italian food. Ten years later, they bought an old Cape Dutch farmstead with whitewashed walls and wooden sash windows.
They turned this beautiful, thatched residence into a charming guest house. Gemma was born in 1995. She ended up being an only child and grew up a beautiful, exotic-looking, olive-skinned, active child. Gemma was often found in the “eating” garden and was never far from her father’s side.
After graduating from high school, Gemma decided to study architecture at the University of Cape Town. She had always been interested in the Dutch-influenced ornately rounded clock gables seen in many of the farmhouses of the Cape Wine Route. Gemma’s post-graduate programme was put on hold when her mother fell ill. Gemma returned home to help her father run the guesthouse.
A year after Gemma returned home, she noticed a small, light patch on the inside of her bottom lip. There was no stinging or itching, so she just dismissed it as dry skin, and changed her moisturiser to a richer option. After six months, she noticed that the white patch was growing and that there was a second, small white spot on the other side! Gemma started to treat these spots with an herbal remedy. After six months, the white patches had grown to about twice their original size.
There are several medical conditions that cause white spots on the skin. If there is no itching, scaling, or burning associated with these spots, they could be signs of Vitiligo. Vitiligo occurs when certain skin cells (melanocytes) stop making melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives colour to your skin, hair, and eyes. Vitiligo can occur at any age, but typically develops between 20 and 30 years of age. The cause may be genetic, but most research indicates it is connected to an autoimmune condition.
Gemma decided to get an expert opinion and booked an appointment with a dermatologist. She was diagnosed with Vitiligo. The news generated a feeling of panic and anxiety. Gemma couldn’t discuss this with her mother because she was still very frail.
Gemma also couldn’t tell her father, because he was frantically busy in the kitchen of the guesthouse and was worried about his wife’s health. Most of Gemma’s friends were still living in Cape Town, so she felt isolated and very alone.
Gemma started to avoid social locations and her self-esteem was badly impacted. She felt embarrassed in company and started to lack self-confidence. A large part of Gemma’s role at the guesthouse was greeting new clients and running the front-end of the restaurant. This caused Gemma stress. Her body language became stiff and stand-offish.
Our appearance can greatly influence our identity and self-esteem. Research indicates that poor emotional and mental health is experienced in at least 33% of those living with diverse skin conditions. People experience a feeling of lack of control over the disease, and that triggers anxiety and panic. When you live with a condition that drastically changes your appearance, stares from others can perpetuate insecurities.
Gemma’s father started to notice the change in his beloved daughter. At first, he thought it was because of her mother’s illness, but soon he realised there was another reason. It took a lot of coaxing and gentle cajoling to learn the reason for Gemma’s depression. He had not even noticed the patches! Together, they decided to find a solution. Immediately, Gemma’s outlook improved, and she felt that she had hope!
One of their visitors was a tourist from Australia who presented them with a potential solution. This guy had had Vitiligo lesions around his knee, and they were no longer there. He showed photographs of the patches and showed the re-pigmented skin on his leg.
He gave them the website address of the company that he had used, and they found that there was a branch in Cape Town. Gemma phoned and spoke to a consultant. During that phone call, she realised that her anxiety and depression had all been for nothing and that her Vitiligo could be successfully treated.
Vitiligo Treatment have offices in South Africa, Australia, and the USA. Their Vitilox® range of products have become the preferred, most stable form of treatment available for Vitiligo. Since inception, in 2001, their team of professionals have accumulated a wealth of knowledge about this disease. Vitiligo Treatment manufactures their branded products, and there are laboratory technicians and medical consultants on staff to answer any Vitiligo or product-related questions. They are a truly global company, and their range of products can be purchased securely online.
Emma completed an online assessment, answering questions such as skin tone, percentage coverage, allergies, diet, and trauma-related information. She also uploaded a photograph of her lips. The consultant evaluated the assessment and replied to her the next day with a treatment plan for her own condition.
Gemma started her treatment with the Vitilox® Vitiligo Lip Balm. It is available in a pleasant-tasting and easy-to-use twin pack. This waxy lip balm ensures the active ingredients are absorbed and have time to work below the skin’s surface. The convenient packaging made it easy for Gemma to carry one in her handbag and have one on her bedside table. This product can be used up to four times a day. The lip balm has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 25.
The lip balm proved very effective, and after two months of treatment, the Vitiligo patches had stopped spreading. Gemma was ecstatic!
Vitiligo on the lips is a delicate area to treat. Lips are devoid of melanocytes, have no hair follicles and the skin is softer and more susceptible to the harsh outer environment. Lips are devoid of sebaceous glands. These are the glands responsible for providing moisture to the skin. Lips are also vulnerable to sun exposure. The skin on lips is much thinner than the skin on other areas because the protective stratum corneum (the outer layer, and the layer that is visible) is especially thin.
The consultant then introduced phase 2 of her treatment programme. Vitilox® T-Cell-V is an effective immune system therapy. The ingredients play a vital role in the melanogenesis process. The capsules contain vitamins, folic acid, biotin, zinc, and selenium. Vitilox® T-Cell-V ingredients have been carefully selected to work together to regulate the immune responses in the alteration of the T-Cells in people suffering from Vitiligo.
The T-helper cells heal and rejuvenate the skin by the production of new cells. In patients with Vitiligo T-helper cells are arguably the most important cells in adaptive immunity as they also help activate cytotoxic T-cells to kill infected target cells.
Detection of various autoantibodies including anti-thyroid and anti-melanocyte antibodies have been found in the serum of Vitiligo patients. These conditions are addressed in the Vitilox® T-Cell-V Therapy.
Less than three months later, Gemma’s lips were almost completely re-pigmented.
During treatment, Gemma was advised to cut out drinking or eating anything that caused her lips to have a tingling sensation or even a slight burn. Many people are unaware that they have an allergic reaction to certain foods or drinks. Citrus fruits should be limited or eliminated from the diet because they contain hydroquinone which tends to reduce the rate of melanin pigmentation.
Gemma was strongly advised to cut her smoking habit down, or even stop completely.
Smoking affects the immune system and results in inflammatory reactions. Along with nicotine, smokers inhale 7,000 other chemicals in cigarette smoke which reduces health in general and has long-term damaging effects. Smoking is known to increase oxidative stress and deplete stores of glutathione – a natural antioxidant in the body. One of the causes of cell death in Vitiligo is an accumulation of free radicals like hydrogen peroxide and other reactive oxygen species. The cyanide in smoke also prevents the activation of Vitamin B-12 to its active form, rendering it useless. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is associated with slow re-pigmentation in Vitiligo. Smoking can accelerate the progression of Vitiligo, or it can hamper the re-pigmentation process.
Gemma’s lips have just small light stripes that are barely visible These will re-pigment with time. Gemma has also regained her self-confidence, and her new-found happiness knows no bounds! Her mother has completed her recovery and will soon be able to recommence her tasks at the family guesthouse. Gemma is planning to resume her studies but will first go on a well-deserved holiday abroad.
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