One of the most common manifestations of pigmentation problems is vitiligo. It is a very typical pigmentation condition that interrupts the uniformity of skin colour, producing areas of hypopigmentation – loss of color in the skin. It can be very harmful to a person’s self image. Studies estimate that 65 million people worldwide have vitiligo. Up to 2 million of these people live in the United States.
Vitiligo affects about one in every hundred people. It stands to reason, therefore, that there are famous people who also suffer from this pigmentation condition.
Indeed, Michael Jackson, the King of pop, suffered vitiligo during his life. He publicly revealed that he had this condition in the early 1990s. Michael Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus in the 1980s. His skin color changed from medium brown to very white throughout the 1980s, 1990s and up until his death. For this reason, it has been speculated that Michael Jackson opted for depigmentation rather than re-pigmentation in order to treat his condition of vitiligo. Amithab Bacchan, and Indian actor and an icon of Bollywood film, also suffers from vitiligo and has achieved a highly successful career despite this condition.
While both Michael Jackson and Amithab Bacchan have dark skin tones, the pigmentation condition of vitiligo is does not only affect ethnic skin. Thomas Lennon is an American actor best known for his role in the comedy series Reno 911. Thomas Lennon has fair skin and blonde hair, yet suffers from vitiligo. A close-up of Thomas Lennon in an episode, The Investigation, showed this condition on his hands, face and hips.
Holly Marie Combs is another American actor to suffer from this skin pigmentation problem. Holly Marie Combs played Piper on the television series, Charmed. Her vitiligo is not severe, but she suffers from this condition on both hands, which is noticeable on some episodes of Charmed. Hedvig Lindahl, a Swedish soccer player who won goalkeeper of the years in Sweden in 2004-2005, has suffered from vitiligo since early childhood. She was fiver years old when she first discovered the condition.
A very severe case of vitiligo can be seen in the skin of Lee Thomas. Lee Thomas is a playwright, journalist and four-time Emmy award winner. Lee Thomas first noticed the pigmentation condition at the age of 25. Since then, Lee Thomas has been seen in the public eye with and without make up to cover the condition. Photographs of Lee Thomas which show his condition indicate the severity of vitiligo and the contrast of pigmentation that can occur. Lee Thomas is very open about the condition and has written an autobiography, which references his vitiligo and the effects this skin condition has had upon his life.
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