Cover image credit Ash Soto.
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Brown, white, speckled, polka-dotty,
Unpredictable and altogether spotty,
Attempting a cure might drive one batty,
In some folks leading to social anxiety.
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Regarding this condition,there are two main sub-types,
On the body, appearing on either one or both sides,
Segmental vs non-segmental, if you’re feeling specific,
The symmetrical sort, most common and prolific.
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The cause is unclear, ill-defined and uncertain,
Said to be due to an auto-immune reaction,
May also be influenced by genetic origin,
Injury or stress; a mind-body connection.
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Those who have it are not contagious,
It’s harmless, don’t worry, it isn’t infectious,
It’s just melanin… missing in places,
Upper or lower limbs, bodies or faces.
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Michael Jackson had it,
The most famously afflicted,
Winnie Harlow, Amitabh Bachan,
Jon Hamm from “Mad Men”.
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Treatment is tailored for each individual,
Phototherapy, steroids, calcipotriol,
What works for one person, may not for another,
The way forward is via a process of trial and error.
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Some choose to go through an alternate pathway,
Avoiding dairy, gluten, anything inflammatory,
Saying no to nightshades and yes to ginseng,
Hiding from the sun vs daily sunbathing.
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There are various creams or lotions available,
Guaranteed cures marketed to the vulnerable,
The recommendations may at times be confusing,
However, results may often be dismal and discouraging.
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Vitiligo can be an incredible teacher,
That which does not kill you, indeed makes you stronger,
Affirming the importance of self-acceptance,
A positive attitude and having self-confidence.
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Not apathy or losing hope for a cure,
Rather, having faith and courage that’s pure,
Developing character and strength from within,

Ultimately, all said and done, it is only skin.

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Reshma Stanislaus is a medical doctor who enjoys literature and writing poetry, as well as articles, especially those related to Psychology. She can be contacted at mogoat@yahoo.com Reshma penned this poem in conjunction with World Vitiligo Day. Read her previous poem here:

POETRY | Depression By Any Other Name by Reshma Clare Stanislaus

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