Kayaking with Vitiligo

A few years ago I suddenly lost the pigment from the backs of my hands, knees, tops of my feet, and forehead (actually, more of a fivehead;)). Since that time I have used paddling gloves, a hat, a sun skirt, and SPF 50 sunscreen.

This past winter I had my knees tattooed flesh tone to see if that would be helpful. So-so results (knees are tough to tattoo).

Any other paddlers with vitiligo out there? Any tips/tricks/suggestions?

some shade ideas
Much of the same as what you are doing.

I paddle a little more in the off season, and in sunny weather, tend to paddle other than mid day(ie lots of night paddling), always look and try to paddle in the lee sunshadow of islands or land that i pass - so that is often right close to shore.

Always carry 30 (seems to be 50 now) or better sunscreen right with me. I use pogies instead of gloves for touch. For a sunshade, I use a ballcap but with a baby diaper under as a sunshade so that i can move the shade around under the hat for all those times that I paddle sideways or 3/4 facing the sun - that really has been helpful in long sunny paddles. And cheap polarized sunglasses.

Luckily I’m caucasian so am not pigmented much in comparison to others (I/m almost normal looking (heh heh) in winter for example) - I have nothing but huge, huge sympathy for more pigmented people that have to endure the visual, virtually disfiguring effects of this condition. It gives me a whole new perspective to some of Michael Jackson’s oddities, for example.

anyway, some ideas.


I also realized as I am planning to paddle a little today after work, that I enjoy paddling on rainy/cloudy days. Before vitiligo, rain in the forecast meant a change to indoor activities.

Re: Michael Jackson. I too am caucasian. Maybe the worst part of vitiligo is when someone notices it, they often ask, “Oh…do you have that thing that Michael Jackson has?” I usually answer, “Pedophilia? No, I do not”.

heh heh
thanks for the good chuckle.