Georgia May Foote: What is vitiligo? The health condition that affects the former Coronation Street star

Former Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote recently opened up about the mental side effects of her health condition as she urges people to be kind. Here’s everything we know about the disease and Georgia’s health!

Coronation Street Georgia May Foote Vitiligo - what is it, treatment, cure celebs who have vitiligo
© Mike Marsland/ Getty_Images
Coronation Street Georgia May Foote Vitiligo - what is it, treatment, cure celebs who have vitiligo

Georgia May Foote, best known for playing Alison Simmons in the BBC school drama series Grange Hill from 2005 to 2008, was also a part of ITV. The actress played Katy Armstrong in the ITV soap for five years before she quit fame for a regular job as a nail technician. Georgia qualified as a nail tech in 2021 and launched her own business GMF Nails - based in Middleton, Manchester.

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The 33-year-old suffers from a health condition called vitiligo. She recently issued an update on her health and requested people to ‘be kind’ to people with vitiligo as people’s reactions often hinder her confidence as well.

Former Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote suffers from vitiligo

According to MailOnline, the actress first revealed her diagnosis in 2022. Georgia was on vacation at that time when people noticed she got ‘burnt’ while on her holiday. She revealed then that after two years of doctor's visits she finally got a diagnosis from a dermatologist confirming that she had Vitiligo - a skin condition in which the pigment cells of the skin are destroyed in certain areas of the body by the immune system.

Georgia shared a picture of her hand and explained that the pigment on her skin had disappeared. She added:

The reason for this happening is still unknown although there are a few factors they think cause it. The saddest part? There is no cure.

The Coronation Street actress continued that it was still her but now with ‘funky skin.’ Her vitiligo has affected her arms, hands, elbows and feet, and there are ‘new spots turning up all the time.’ She has a little spot on her lips as well which at first upset her a lot as she was still in the TV industry.

Over the years, Georgia has become the voice and representation of people with vitiligo. In her recent post on Instagram, she revealed how it feels when people ‘stare’ at her due to her skin condition. She explained how this makes her feel ‘insecure at times’ but the love she gets from people around her keeps her going, reports Mirror. She shared:

I've noticed people staring, having a good old nosey with their faces screwed up, and that's when my heart drops.

Georgia - who has also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing - revealed that she notices new patches on her skin every time she goes on a holiday and gets a tan. She added:

I’m proud to be a voice for people like me with the condition. I battle with how I feel about it every day. Today’s one of those days I remember there is nothing I can do about it.

Despite quitting fame, Georgia has made a name for herself in the UK. Apart from her acting gigs, she finished as a runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing and had a romance with dancer Giovanni Pernice. - whose ex-dance partners have united against him. Being a famous personality and having some influence on society, she urged people to ‘be kind’ to people vitiligo and added:

So this is just a friendly reminder to those people to be kind. I'm sure the way it makes you feel is nothing in comparison to how the person with it feels.

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is more common and more complicated than one might think. It may not be a fatal skin disease but it leaves a strong impact on the emotional and mental well-being of the patient. NHS describes vitiligo as:

A long-term condition where pale white patches develop on the skin. It's caused by the lack of melanin, which is the pigment in skin.

Melanin is a substance in our bodies that produces hair, eye and skin pigmentation. It is produced by skin cells called melanocytes. A lack of melanin causes white patches to develop on your skin or hair. Vitiligo usually affects your:

  • mouth and eyes
  • fingers and wrists
  • armpits
  • groin
  • genitals
  • inside your mouth

It can sometimes develop in areas that have hair roots like your scalp and may also turn the hair in the affected area gray or white. The white patches on your skin can sometimes also become itchy.

Being a complicated medical condition, it is still unknown what causes vitiligo, according to Healthline. Many researchers believe that vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder because your body is attacking its own cells.

In simpler terms, autoimmune conditions cause your immune system to not work properly and as a side effect, they attack the cells of your body instead of attacking foreign cells such as viruses.

Vitiligo varies from person to person as some people only get a few small white patches while others get bigger white patches. No factor has yet been diagnosed to predict the effect of vitiligo on the skin.

Furthermore, there are two types of vitiligo - non-segmental vitiligo & segmental vitiligo. In non-segmental vitiligo, the symptoms appear on both sides of your body as symmetrical white patches. This is a more common condition and is found in 9 out of 10 vitiligo patients. Georgia is also understood to be battling non-segmental vitiligo as she previously shared:

When it appears on one side, it appears on the other.

What is the treatment and cure for vitiligo?

There’s currently no cure for vitiligo, but some treatments can help restore some skin colour. They aim to restore colour balance in the skin. The treatment varies according to how the condition specifically affects your body and how your body responds to the treatment. Some medical treatments include topical creams, prescription oral medications ultraviolet A (PUVA) light therapy, narrowband ultraviolet B light therapy, excimer laser treatment and Depigmentation. While surgical treatment includes skin grafting, melanocyte transplants and micropigmentation.

In case vitiligo is left untreated it can increase chances of sunburn, developing mood disorders, and experiencing disease progression. People with vitiligo are advised to wear more SPF as the pale areas of skin are more vulnerable to sunburn.

Based on the research available on vitiligo so far, it is understood that the skin condition is neither genetic nor contagious. However, having a family history of vitiligo or other autoimmune conditions could increase its risks.

Apart from Georgia, many other celebs have also experienced incurable skin disease, reports VR Foundation. Most famous names include Michael Jackson, model Winnie Harlow, Lee Thomas, professional basketball player Rasheed Abdul Wallace, Graham Norton and British presenter and radio host Richard Mark Hammond.

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Sources Used

Daily Mail: 'New spots are turning up all the time': Georgia May Foote reveals she's been diagnosed with vitiligo as she bravely shares a snap of her pigmented skin

Mirror: Coronation Street's Georgia May Foote's 'heart drops' when people 'stare' at her health condition

The Sun: Ex-Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote begs fans to ‘be kind’ as she opens up about health condition

NHS: Vitiligo

Healthline: What is Vitiligo and What Does Look Like?

VR Foundation: Famous Vitiligans

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