An interesting new study has suggested that eye colour could have a lot to do with what skin problems you might experience later in life. Authors of the study have suggested that eye colour could have a significant implication on the risk factors for melanoma as well. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
For example, results have shown that individuals with blue eyes are much less likely to develop vitiligo, while people with brown eyes are more likely to develop the affliction and its characteristic white patches of skin and hair.
Vitiligo and Your Immune System
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease in which a persons immune system attacks normal pigment cells, causing irregular white patches of skin and hair. People with vitiligo are also at higher risk of developing other autoimmune diseases like autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
The study, which was published in Nature Genetics showed followed 450 people with and without the skin disease, taking into account their eye colour. The group was selected randomly out of a pool of 3,200 Americans of non-Hispanic European ancestry.
The analysis identified 13 new genes that predispose people to vitiligo, and the results showed a significantly lower percentage of people with blue or gray eyes and a higher percentage of people with brown eyes had vitiligo.
Results showed that among the people with vitiligo:
- 27% had blue or gray eyes (compared with over half of Americans of European descent without the condition)
- 43% had tan or brown eyes vs. 27%.
- 30% had green or hazel eyes vs. 22%.
What is likely most strange about this study, is that researchers say the abnormal immune response associated with vitiligo may have effects in lowering the risk of melanoma.
Some Interesting Facts on Vitiligo
Many people with vitiligo can feel depressed and start lacking confidence because of their white spots. Due to the intense mental stress felt among patients with vitiligo, there are a number of therapies available. The most proven techniques out of these are UV therapy and supplemental treatments.
There has been some success using light treatments. There are people who have used UVB lamps that have re-claimed pigmentation. There are also home lamps available that can eliminate the hassle of having to go to expensive UV light therapy sessions.