Newsletter January 2017
I’m back with some exciting news and also the opportunity to make yourself over $50 in a gift card, for just a little bit of your time. Details are down at the bottom, so feel free to skip there first!
If you’re still with me then we’re focusing on a new attitude to skin for the New Year. Whether you take care of other people’s skin or your own, I’m sure there’s things you’d like to achieve or do better in 2017. Let’s look at a few positive ways to reach that next level:
Forget about big goals
We often underestimate what it takes to accomplish really big goals, which is why so many New Year’s resolutions have bitten the dust by February. You might think your big goal will keep you motivated over the long-term, but that’s not always true, as James Clear eloquently illustrates in his article (1).
By contrast, we tend to overestimate the effort required to take on a series of bite-size goals that could bring you to the same result. Also, research shows that new habits become ingrained in our minds within 30-60 days. So – if you haven’t already - ditch your New Year’s resolutions and start with small monthly challenges. Pick a healthy habit you want to adopt and do it for just four weeks. After that you may find it becomes second nature.
Avoid un-healthy advice
At this time of year, there is plenty of self-medicating advice floating around, based on anecdotal rather than scientific evidence. At best, it will have a placebo effect. At worst, it can cause real harm. Gizmodo does a humorous job of debunking seven of the most popular health myths, from eating placenta to fat freezing (2).
On a more serious note, here’s some advice you should heed: addiction researchers are become increasingly worried that sugar could be classified as a drug - like nicotine, cocaine, heroin and alcohol – due to its damaging effects (3). Is it time to cut down on your sugar intake?
Find out how fast your skin is aging
This new skincare tool calculates your risk of accelerated skin aging based on your location and real-time air quality data (4). Interestingly, when I looked, your risk is nearly identical in Boston, London or Paris, but two times lower in Toronto and four times lower in the Vatican City.
So check it out and, whatever the result, set a monthly challenge to get outside and have a walk in the sun to replenish your skin’s vitamin D levels. Here’s another motivation – sitting about too much can age you by a whole eight years (5).
Also, don’t think indoor tanning salons are a healthy substitute for the sun – they’re not! Thirteen US states have banned people under 18 from using tanning beds and booths, citing considerable health risks - especially for women.
Don’t believe the hype
Nature is reporting that curcumin – a substance found in turmeric - is not all it’s cracked up to be (6). It‘s reputed to have many healthful benefits – including for skin - but the most comprehensive review of curcumin to date concluded that there’s no evidence it has any specific therapeutic benefits, despite thousands of research papers and more than 120 clinical trials (7).
Dr. John Harris reports results of recent clinical trials in his award-winning blog for Vitiligo Clinic at UMass. For now, don’t scramble to get simvastatin or JAK inhibitor for vitiligo (8, 9). There’s always a chance that it will work in some people, and we just haven’t figured out exactly who that is yet.
Upcoming online policy changes
Our web sites served well over 1.2 million users from every country of the world to date. Over half of our web traffic is now mobile. We survived several nasty cyber attacks. We are now implementing new technologies to better serve and empower vitiligo patients, to create even more positive change in the community. To that end, we're making some key updates to our policies that we'd like to share with you (10).
Finally, let’s talk prize draw!
I’ve got two news to tell you about:
First, a new study has been launched by the University of Sheffield to test the effectiveness of self-help intervention for adults with vitiligo, and to help people build confidence in social situations (11). To participate, you just need to fill in a short questionnaire and read through some written material. Those who complete the process will be entered into a prize draw to receive an Amazon voucher worth £50.
The second prize draw is our very own and is concerned with phototherapy. VR Foundation is a longstanding supporter of home phototherapy treatments, used with proper supervision. UVB phototherapy remains a gold standard in vitiligo treatments and some devices for home use provide excellent results at a fraction of clinic treatments (12). When used in conjunction with mobile apps or telemedicine, home phototherapy can result in doctor visits being cut to a bare minimum.
Could you help us with this? I just need you to answer this quick survey to facilitate collaboration between scientists and industry, and develop a new breed of home treatment devices (12). The study is fully anonymous, and it will take you just 5 minutes but will matter a lot more to me.
Until next month,
CEO VR Foundation
I support the petition to designate June 25 as Vitiligo World Day and save millions of people worldwide from social isolation and persecution.
What is coming?
The Step Up for Vitiligo Gala
Dallas-Fort Worth Vitiligo Support Group is organizing 'The Step Up for Vitiligo Gala' which will take place on April 28th in Austin, Texas at UT-Austin. Dr. Ammar Ah...28 April 2018 12:00, Austin, Texas at UT-Austin
11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD
The 11th session Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will take place at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, from 12 to 14 June 2018. Mo...12 June 2018 09:00, UN Plaza, New York
How can I explain vitiligo to my children?
Vitiligo can be puzzling for a child because a person who has it isn't "ill" in a common sense.  To choose the right words to explain vitiligo diagnosis to a chi...
Will it spread?
Vitiligo activity may vary considerably from person to person. In a good number of patients the disease goes on for 3-4 years and then it settles down, with one or tw...
Polypodium leucotomos as an adjunct treatment for vitiligo?
Extracts of the tropical fern Polypodium leucotomos appear to have beneficial properties for the vitiligious skin. Polypodium leucotomos (also classified as Polypodium...