Written by MJMystery
Below, you will find an EXTENSIVE report on Michael Jackson and Vitiligo. I discuss the following: Michael's announcement of having vitiligo; skin camouflages for vitiligo patients; why bleaching is scientifically impossible; other cases of those with vitiligo; the emotional trauma of vitiligo patients; and the lifestyle adjustments for vitiligo patients. In covering these various topics, I want to make the word VITILIGO a part of ALL reports that discuss Michael's face.
Oprah : Okay, then let's go to the thing that is most discussed about you, that is the color of your skin is most obviously different than when you were younger, and so I think it has caused a great deal of speculation and controversy as to what you have done or are doing, are you bleaching your skin and is your skin lighter because you don't like being black?
Michael : Number one, as I know of, there is no such thing as skin bleaching, I have never seen it, I don't know what it is.
Oprah : Well they used to have those products, I remember growing up always hearing always use bleach and glow, but you have to have about 300,000 gallons.
Michael : Okay, but number one, this is the situation. I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of the skin, it's something that I cannot help. Okay. But when people make up stories that I don't want to be who I am it hurts me.
Michael : It's in my family, my father said it's on his side. I can't control it, I don't understand, I mean, it makes me very SAD. I don't want to go into my medical history because that is private, but that's the situation here.
Oprah : So okay, I just want to get this straight, you are not taking anything to change the color of your skin ...
Michael : Oh, God no, we tried to control it and using make-up evens it out because it makes blotches on my skin, I have to even out my skin.
During the Oprah Winfrey interview, Michael also addressed being a black American:
Michael: I'm a black American, I am proud to be a black american, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity.
USA Today, October 11, 1995 Janet Jackson on Michael's skin disorder:
"The notion that Michael's increasingly pale makeup is a symbolic rejection of his racial identity is ludicrous”, she says. “This whole skin thing really, really, bothers me," Jackson says, noting that her brother disclosed that he has vitiligo, a skin disorder that depletes pigmentation. "He told people exactly what is going on, even though it's none of their business. But it's important for younger fans to know, because they look up to him. People go. 'oh, he's trying to be white.' Please. Why would he want to be white? He's proud of being african american man."
Vitiligo patients use make-up, tanning lotions and various other products to camouflage the discoloration or blotches. Michael has stated during the Oprah Winfrey interview that he uses make-up to cover the blotches and to even out his skin. Many ask, why doesn’t he use a browner tone make-up instead of the “pancake” white make-up? Michael actually did wear a darker tone make-up when the disease was in its earlier stages. However, when the disease progressed, it is only natural he would use a make-up consistent with the mostly “milk white” complexion associated with his Vitiligo. What would be the logic of Michael trying to cover his body in brown make-up? Because many are ashamed of the “milk white” complexion associated with the disease? Not only is his face of a mostly “milk white” complexion, but most of his body: hands, legs, etc. If he uses a browner tone make-up on his face, he would also have to use it on his hands, arms, and other bodily parts, which could become a cumbersome task. The question becomes why are people ashamed of the color associated with those who have Vitiligo? Milk White.
Vitiligo patients have various products that are used to camouflage discoloration. Those products are discussed at the Vitiligo Society at Vitiligo Society. At the Vitiligo Society, the following is stated:
"Some people prefer to use products which only need to be applied occasionally and do not rub off on clothing. For them fake tans (sometimes called self tanning lotions) can give a longer lasting but less perfect colour. Unlike skin camouflage, fake tans are not usually able to provide a perfect match with your own skin colour, but they do usually last for about four to six days before they have to be reapplied. They are very useful for large areas of vitiligo."
Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes (the cells that make pigment) in the skin, the tissues that line the inside of the mouth and nose and genital and rectal areas (mucous membranes), and the retina of the eyes are destroyed. As a result, white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body. Some people are under this notion that there is some kind of "bleaching cream" that can change a black man, white. So called “bleaching creams” have been around for ages. In fact, many of them you can purchase at a pharmaceutical. But none of these lighteners changes a black persons skin white. These so called skin lighteners, were only removing dark blemishes, or dead skin cells giving the impression that their skin was maybe a shade lighter, not white. And after discontinued use, the melanocyte cells would bring back their normal skin pigment. And those individuals using so called skin lighteners are NOT MILK WHITE from using such a product.
Those who suffer from Vitiligo do NOT produce the cells that produce pigment. As such, as they gain more milk white patches that part of their body is permanently milk white. For a "normal" black person (who produce pigment), they can not change their skin permanently because their genetic makeup produce the melanocytes cells that produce pigment and maintain color. If a normal black person (without Vitiligo) get scarred tissue from burns or other injury, it is the malanocytes cells that bring back color. It is their genetic makeup within their cells.
In addition, Michael is not the only person who suffers from Vitiligo. There are other cases. The Vitiligo Society states the following:
"It affects at least one in every hundred people in countries throughout the world. It affects people of both sexes equally, and it affects all races. It can begin at any age, though about fifty percent of people with vitiligo develop it before the age of twenty five."
One such case is a girl name Emily who has an extensive book on her vitiligo called Emily's Vitiligo. It is about her diagnosis, condition, treatment, and lifestyle adjustments. In the book Emily's Vitiligo, her mother, Susie, speaks of taking her daughter to visit the dermatologist and the discovery of her having Vitiligo. Notice the famous name of a vitiligo patient that her dermatologist uses to connect to Emily's case.
Susie’s Thoughts on Emily's Vitiligo:
"OK so here I have this perfectly wonderful life, three kids, a sweet and supportive husband and I'm finishing up my last bit of schooling on my way to a big Bachelor of Arts degree. When all of the sudden one spring day my sweet beautiful Emily gets these two little white spots on the tops of her feet. I always thought they looked like someone spilled a little milk on her and where the liquid hit is where the mark was left... funny huh... Anyway I take her to a local dermatologist due to a mild concern about it on my part. He takes one look at it and says it looks like vitiligo. At this point my mind is racing to find where I've heard that word before. He SAYS you know... the disease(?) MICHAEL JACKSON has. Then it hits me that's where I've heard it. Holy cow I'm thinking... a disease that turned a BLACK MAN WHITE...my daughter has that. Inside I'm freaking but I calmly ask him what can we do about it. Well at this point he says simply not much but here is a brochure that explains the condition and some treatments that are available. So I thank him for what I now will call the brochure from hell because I think reading those few pages on vitiligo absolutely SCARED me to death. Words like, "while it is not a physically debilitating condition the SOCIAL STIGMA of the disease could prove very difficult, counseling should be considered, if it progresses to such an extent there is treatment to get rid of all the pigment bla bla bla".
When Michael announced he had Vitiligo, during the Oprah interview, he was close to tears. Dr. Paul Kechijian, a dermatologist at both New York University Hospital and North Shore University explained in an article published in Newsday on 2/12/93, that "Jackson's emotional reaction is typical of those who have vitiligo."
One of the most devastating parts of having vitiligo is the emotional trauma they experience. Allen Locklin, a vitiligo patient who co-founded the National Vitiligo Foundation in Tyler, Texas said the following:
"More than two-thirds of patients become almost reclusive. If you walk around looking like a painted pony, you get shunned."
At www.lilroom.demon.co.uk/vitiligo.html) the following is stated:
"Vitiligo can definitely shatter a life, even though it is not biologically life-endangering. It is in no way debilitating, except MENTALLY. Vitiligo, while not deadly to the body, DAMAGES THE SPIRIT. Most vitiligo patients suffer some degree of emotional trauma related to the condition. The condition can be severely HUMILIATING in a society that is inclined to associate attractiveness and good health with suntanned skin. Feelings of inadequacy, loss, frustration, and rejection are common for those afflicted with the disease. Self-consciousness and a lack of self-esteem are also typical sensitivities developed as a repercussion of vitiligo (Atkinson 2-3). Because of the change in appearance, shrinking from socializing is often an effect of the condition as well."
Can you imagine how Michael must have felt being diagnosed? Michael is a entertainer in an industry where looks are so valued. Celebrities constantly have their pictures taken and their careers are based upon visibility. I believe this is why Michael became isolated and reclusive.
What causes vitiligo? Stress or unusual TRAUMA (especially to the HEAD) can cause vitiligo. Diabetes mellitus (adult onset), abnormal thyroid function, Addison's disease, Pernicious anemia and Alopecia areata (hair loss in patches) are each associated with vitiligo. So you want to rule out each of these diseases and minimize stress. I started asking myself questions, like what do these diseases have in common? What connections are there? Many of the answers pointed towards diet. Another possibility is that you were exposed to an industrial chemical that effected your pigment.
CLEAN AIR is important and most of the time it is abundant in our small town by the ocean. As long as the Florida forest fires aren't burning out of control and the local launches from the Space Center aren't exploding and dumping their toxic fuel in huge clouds. If we lived in a more polluted area, I would have invested in a whole house, air purification system.
Our family adopted a PURE VEGETARIAN LIFESTYLE (no meat, dairy or eggs). Check out why we chose this life style. You might also be asking yourself, how did we convince our children to go along with us? Vitiligo is theorized to be an autoimmune disease. As an autoimmune disease it should respond well to a low fat vegetarian diet.
We use natural light, and we tend to wear HATS more often than we used too. When in the sun, we only stay out for about half an hour to an hour then take a break inside. There is always a fun inside activity to fill a half-hour. This is of course effected by the time of day, we really try to avoid the mid day sun.
How does Emily’s Vitiligo relate to Michael?
Causes: Michael's doctor linked the burns to Michael's scalp (HEAD) in the Pepsi commercial as the catalyst in triggering the vitiligo.
Air: On the Prime Time with Diane Sawyer (June 10, 1995), Michael indicated the following: "I'm very sensitive to the smog. Y'know, so I can't have the smog."
Food Choices: Michael has followed a vegetarian diet.
Sun Light: Michael does wear a hat to protect him from the sunrays and carries an umbrella to shield him from the sunrays.
When asked about why he was wearing the "silk mask" on the on the VH1 interview on November 10, 1997, Michael said the following:
"Because with time my skin condition has gotten worse, I hate to say it. I have VITILIGO, and I'm TOTALLY completely ALLERGIC to the sun. I'm not even suppose to be outside actually. Even if I'm in the shade the sun rays can destroy my skin."
Also related to the sunrays, in the Prime Time Interview June 13, 1994 Michael said the following:
"I envy her (pointing to Lisa Marie), 'cause she can tan and I can't."
During the Oprah Winfrey interview, Michael said that one of his favorite stories was the Elephant Man. The Elephant Man was a story of a man who was shunned because of his abnormal looks. Many thought Michael had an interest in this story because he wanted to "purchase" the Elephant Man's bones. Of course this was far from the truth. Here is Michael’s answer to Oprah Winfrey regarding the question of purchasing the Elephant Man’s bones:
“No that's another stupid story. I love the story of the Elephant Man, he reminds me of me a lot and I could relate to it, it made me cry because I saw MYSELF IN THE STORY, but no I never asked for the ... where am I going to put some bones?”
With Thriller, Michael became one of the most recognized faces in the world, if not the most recognized. In privacy, he was battling quietly a disfiguring skin disorder. He had to cope with this as best he could. Can you imagine being diagnosed with a skin disorder when your career is in full blossom? Can you imagine your color changing forever, a color you have had all your life? Can you imagine being an entertainer (who is photographed constantly) in an industry where looks are so valued and important to your career? Can you imagine after disclosing you have a disease, people calling you a liar? Can you imagine people hating you because you look different? In actuality, Michael is teaching us a lesson in discrimination, using himself, and we don't even realize it.
In conclusion, I ask, that you include the word VITILIGO when discussing Michael Jackson's face, because it is very much apart of him as person, a human being afflicted with a skin disorder not a person to be made fun of and scorned.
Article written by MJMystery. Pictures collected by fans of the KOP Board Community.