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P and Pigment Loss — Related?
from Sue

Hi Ed:  I was wondering if anyone else out there in P land has a problem with losing pigment. 

I'm 54 years old and my face is really getting bad, I've lost all the pigment around my nose and chin and also some on my neck.  I've asked my derm about it but she is not able to give me an answer.  I've undergone PUVA for years and I've wondered if that has had an impact on the problem.

Ed, I really enjoy your site, I check in every month.. -Sue


Ed’s Response:  Interesting question, Sue.  I clicked through my usual look-it-ups and came up with nothing that would shed light on your facial pigment loss, let alone link it to P or PUVA treatments.

Hopefully other readers will have some information.

In my case the pigment loss came first.  I’ve had vitiligo most of my life.  I was born with a “white patch” on my chest and, in my teens, it spread to my arms and neck.  P came when I was 39.  As a consequence of P, those areas of my body that have no pigment don’t get sun exposure anymore. Everything turns white “where the sun don’t shine” so my vitiligo patches are almost indistinguishable.  I don’t like to consider myself a “pale, gaunt fellow.”  I prefer to think of myself as an “alabaster statement” of some kind....  (Oh heavens, that even made ME crinkle my nose!)

One thing I would say.  My derm belongs to some special-interest Internet forums and when I hit him with a question he can’t answer, he posts a query in these doc-only forums.  I know this because sometimes he forwards their responses to me.  Granted, this may be above and beyond the call of duty for any derm — but should it be? 

I’m old enough — you are, too — to demand our money’s worth out of our health caregivers.  Next time your doc doesn’t answer, or gives you a non-answer, think about responding this way.  “Okay.  Would you look into it for me please?  I’ll call in a week to see what you’ve discovered.  Thanks!” 

Stay in touch, Sue.  Hopefully some readers can shed more light on this.  -Ed

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