Information for parents & schools
It may be difficult for you, as a parent or carer, to talk to your child about vitiligo because of your own feelings about the condition. It is also important that you recognise your own feelings towards vitiligo as this may be an emotional time for you also. So if you feel like you are struggling, do speak to a healthcare professional. You can also join supportive groups like The Vitiligo Society Parent Support Network, email email@example.com for more information.
How to get medical advice about your child’s vitiligo
As you may know, going to the doctor or specialist with your child can be very stressful. You will probably be discussing their vitiligo in front of them, which may cause your child distress, especially if they are not fully prepared to see the doctor. It is advisable to discuss the visit beforehand and write down the questions you (or your child) want to ask before you go.
As a parent, you will naturally want to get the best treatment for your child and try every medical option open. However, you need to be aware that your efforts to find a treatment may be misunderstood by your child. It is possible that they may think that this means you are ashamed of their condition and ultimately that you don’t love them. It will be beneficial to review some of the treatment options beforehand with your child and understand if they want to try any of the options. Ultimately, your child should understand that accepting vitiligo and not treating it is also an option and that they will have your support.
You can help your child cope with concerns about vitiligo by making them feel secure and loved for who they are. The more confident they are in managing any difficulties they have, the more positive they will feel about the future.
Read more about treatment options for vitiligo.
Identifying vitiligo in children and babies
We would always suggest seeking a formal diagnosis of vitiligo from a trained healthcare professional. However, there are some signs and symptoms that you can look out for if considering if your child might have vitiligo. We talk through these generic symptoms here.
The signs and symptoms of vitiligo in babies and children are broadly similar, with the exception that children are more likely to have the segmental type of vitiligo so statistically that presentation will be more common in children.
Vitiligo and pregnancy FAQs
Can vitiligo transfer from mother to baby?
There is just one report that we are aware of which describes this happening. It is unclear from that report whether the antimelanocyte antibodies crossed the placenta or whether it was a genetic predisposition that was in play. The answer is that it is possible but probably uncommon, though if the vitiligo is active in the mother, then that might make it more likely to occur.
Can pregnancy cause vitiligo or make it worse?
Pregnancy is likely to be a potential factor in the precipitation of the onset of vitiligo because of the disruption of the immune system that occurs with pregnancy. Additionally, it could be anticipated that pre-existing vitiligo might get worse with pregnancy in some women. According to research conducted in 2021, 17% of participants found that pregnancy caused their vitiligo patches to grow in size or number, where as 12% found reported an improvement to their vitiligo. 71% reported that pregnancy had no affect on their vitiligo.
If you have a question about vitiligo and pregnancy then please email our team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download our School Support Pack
It can be overwhelming sending your child to school, into a new environment where they may be asked questions about their vitiligo and appearance. The Vitiligo Society has taken the latest information, and with the help of a number of parents and teachers, created an incredible new School Support Pack for you to download.
Empower yourself by learning about the condition
Our free e-book The Definitive Guide to Vitiligo offers a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about vitiligo.
In addition to this, our online member’s magazine offers a selection of the articles that you may find interesting, even as a non-member you can view two articles every month.
Vitiligo – truths and misrepresentations
How to approach the school year when your child has vitiligo
How to help your child live with vitiligo
Research findings: the positive lived experiences with vitiligo
Sun Awareness week and protecting your skin against the sun
UV light treatment in relation to skin cancer
Our role as parents of children with vitiligo
Are calcineurin inhibitors such as tracrolimus (protopic) and pimecrolimus (elidel) safe for treating children with vitiligo
4 ways to build confidence in children with vitiligo
Meet our young ambassadors
We believe in the power of children seeing peers with vitiligo being able to thrive and embrace their unique appearance. Our Society is really fortunate to have a team of incredible young ambassadors who are unafraid to show their spots, speak out about their vitiligo, and share words of encourage for other kids to do the same!
Meet Nikayah, she’s 9 years old and very happy with her unique skin…
“‘You are beautiful!’ Is what most people say to me when they see my light patches. My name is Nikayah and I am 9yrs old. My mum noticed my first light patch when I was 2 yrs old. She didn’t think much of it until more appeared 2yrs later. Some of my light patches are in my hair which makes my hair turn grey! How cool is that!
My light patches are a constant reminder that we are all beautiful and unique. By talking about vitiligo we can spread awareness and promote a positive self image for us all. I am so happy in the skin that I am in… Even though some have disappeared or become smaller, I want all of my light patches to come back. I never want my light patches to go!”
Follow Nikayah’s journey on Instagram: @his_workofart
Meet Charlie, he’s 9 years old and enjoys drawing, swimming and football…
“I was about 4 years old when I noticed a small white patch on my chin. Then it spread and a new spot appeared on my neck. At the beginning, I wanted it to go away. I didn’t think it suited me and I just wanted my normal skin back.
Now I’ve had vitiligo for a few years, I think it makes me feel special. It is part of who I am and it makes feel important. I think it’s important to teach others about vitiligo so that people don’t make fun of them and so people don’t feel embarrassed about having vitiligo. I feel really happy and positive about my skin now. Don’t be afraid to show your patches. People might have questions about your patches and you can explain what it is and be proud!”
Meet Darnay, he is 10 years old and enjoys tennis, gaming and looking after his little sister…
“I developed vitiligo at the age of 7 and I’ve never been ashamed of my patches.
I think that my patches are really cool and resemble a superhero mask. People stare all the time, but it doesn’t bother me at all and it just gives me extra strength.
I say vitiligo shouldn’t change the way you are, it should give you more confidence. I think my vitiligo makes me unique.
Wear your parches with pride. Look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself you are beautiful. Hold your head up high. If people stare, let them stare. They are just fascinated with your uniqueness.”
Follow Darney’s journey on Instagram: @darns2012
Meet Lizzy, she’s 7 years old and was diagnosed with vitiligo when she was 5…
“I would tell kids who get diagnosed with vitiligo not to be scared or worried. I told my friends that I have vitiligo and explained what it was just in case the saw one of my spots and worried about me.
I told them that vitiligo is not contagious and doesn’t hurt me at all.
I love the kids I’ve met through the Vitiligo Society. Vitiligo has helped me make new friends all over the world!”