At the age of 11, the first white spots began to appear on the face and body of singer Tiê Biral, 41. At the time, she was a model and people kept asking what it was or looking at her fearing that it was something transmissible.
But vitiligo is not transmissible. It is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s defense cells, by mistake, “attack” and destroy the melanocytes, cells responsible for the production of melanin, which gives color to the skin—that’s why its depigmentation occurs.
Despite having a strong genetic factor, vitiligo is a multifactorial disease, that is, it can have several causes. There are several factors that, when interacting with each other, lead to the appearance of white spots on the skin. But it is not something that poses any risk to the person, despite having emotional impacts, especially in children.
In an interview with Live well, Tiê remembers that the first spots appeared right after suffering an abuse and, according to experts on the subject, this can even happen. It is not uncommon for children who experience physical or psychological trauma (and already have other factors associated with the disease) to present the signs of vitiligo soon after.
“I had and still have few spots, but, even so, people asked, they thought it got—and no, right? But they had this affliction, and I suffered a lot,” says the artist. As she “didn’t have a lot of balls” to model, she stopped working when she was 15 and suffered from vitiligo until she was 24, a period in which she finally accepted.