London-based fitness model and entrepreneur Ninu Galot spoke on ‘Vitiligo’, a long-term, chronic medical condition that results in loss of pigmentation, in white patches, visible on the skin across the body, hair and eyes.


By K Ashwin Mobile: 09920183006

London-based fitness model and entrepreneur Ninu Galot spoke on ‘Vitiligo’, a long-term, chronic medical condition that results in loss of pigmentation, in white patches, visible on the skin across the body, hair and eyes.

With about 1 % of the world’s population suffering from Vitiligo, approximately 65 million people globally suffer from the skin disorder. Many Indians suffer from Vitiligo too, along with the social stigmas attached to it, making those affected less confident and so less sociable.

Ninu Galot, a Vitiligo patient herself, commented “When I decided to do a fitness competition back in London, it helped to raise awareness about Vitiligo. The support I got from family and friends was admirable. I found a change in everyone around me and found a lot of support while going through my challenges. Many who didn’t know I was suffering with Vitiligo, saw me as someone who had everything; a confident and successful business woman. However within, I wasn’t happy, smiling for people around me. But now I am smiling for ‘Me’, as I’ve set myself free by being open about it. Over a period of time, I began realising that people loved me for who I was. The only person who didn’t love me, was me.”

“Instead of taking the usual path Vitiligo afflicted patients take of being embarrassed and going under cover, Ninu went the other way and decided to come out with it, be honest and actually talk about it extensively and create a support system, both in the UK and in India.

Vitiligo is ‘not contagious’. Globally about 1% of people are affected by Vitiligo, with males and females equally affected and has been described since ancient history.

There is no known cure for Vitiligo. Avoiding excessive sun exposure, using a good sunblock to protect the skin are easy tips to protect oneself. Avoiding scratches, burns and cuts, direct sun exposure and swimming, reduced vitamin C intake are other easy measures.

Exercise on the other hand releases happy endorphins and is highly recommend for people to incorporate as part of their daily lives, along with good nutrition and adequate sleep, to boost immunity. Exercise, including Yoga Asanas help develop new cells, while removing and clearing away dead skin cells, also acting on the endocrine glands, thus regulating the production of hormones.

As a measure to fight Vitiligo, increased water intake helps maintain a healthful PH balance. Increased intake of green and fresh vegetables and fresh fruit, helps in increasing immunity. Reducing milk intake, including red meat, spicy and oily foods are recommended. Avoiding excessive intake of beverages such as tea, coffee and alcohol is also advised.

WHAT is it?
Skin condition where pale white patches appear on the skin. It’s a loss of melanin pigment in the skin.

WHY is it a problem that needs addressing?

From my experience I believe it needs addressing as it’s something people suffer in silence. The doctors don’t consider it as something which need addressing as it’s not life threatening

HOW is it created/medical story?

It just appears… medically said to be hereditary and can occur because of stress.

WHAT are the stats?

Affects about 1% of Worlds population.

WHY are people hiding it?

Well it depends where people have it. When I had it on parts of my body which I covered with clothing everything was fine until I went on the beach or was wearing an outfit which revealed the vitiligo. However when it’s on hands or face it becomes harder to hide. There is cover up available however I didn’t find it worked for me.

HOW does it play out in people’s live?

Cause lack of self esteem and confidence. Can also cause people to be less sociable.

YOUR background story in general?

Strong moments
When I decided to do the fitness competition to raise awareness for vitiligo the support I got from family and friends to do this. Strong moments came after I chose to start speaking about my challenges with vitiligo and found everyone around me to be so supportive. Whilst I was going through my challenges my family were always there for me. My friends didn’t know I was suffering with vitiligo. People always saw me as someone who’s got everything confident and successful. Within myself I wasn’t happy I was happy and smiling for the people around me whereas now I’m happy and smiling for me as I’ve set myself free by being open about it.

Being at my weakest moment I chose to turn things around?

Cover it up, didn’t want to go out or meet people. I spent a lot of money travelling to Milan for treatment. Money can’t buy happiness but it gives you options. I read a lot of books, information on the internet, changed my diet, to try and eliminate viltigo. Books really helped power of now, quantum healing and Louise hay. Louise work I love the most she taught me to love myself! I’ve always been a perfectionist and vitiligo was something that was out of my control and I found it hard to handle. It’s not a topic that is widely spoken about.
⁃March 2016 when I got back from Dubai when the vitiligo appeared on my hands! Then I realised there was no more hiding I couldn’t cover it up with clothes anymore. I learnt to accept it as a gift from god and changed my way of thinking. I’m very blessed I have great family and friend who have been very supportive in everything I’ve done. This topic has never been spoken about in Asian press and many people suffer. Why it’s not address I have no idea.

WHAT made you speak up about it NOW?

⁃I felt the time was right. It wasn’t easy decision to make as I’ve opened up about something very close to my heart about my emotions, my feelings. Even before deciding to go on stage and discussing it in media I thought what would people say. Then thought to myself they will be proud and that this will help others who are also affected.

⁃       decision not to cover vitiligo is to show myself self love and that the thing that scared me and i covered up for 15 yeas now I’m proud to show it off! It’s my trademark! It’s “self love” I want to make a difference. Not about blending in but about standing out. I’ve learnt to accept my flaws and realised it’s my trademark a fashion statement that can’t be bought in harrods! Just like a great physique can’t be bought, it takes hard work and commitment, discipline something I’ve learnt the last 6 months.
⁃       I went travelling last year for 6 weeks on my own and realised that no one noticed the vitiligo it was only me. People love me for who I am my family my friends. The only person who didn’t love me was me. Yes I smiled a lot for everyone else but now I’m finally smiling for me as I’ve accepted the vitiligo and that it’s a part of me

WHAT exact concepts and methodologies have you used to overcome the pain living with it?
⁃       wow tried so many different things
⁃       Started off young democate cream doctor Higgins
⁃       Doctor suggested seeing homeopathic which spread the vitiligo
⁃       Then a friend found treatment in Milan which I had from October 2004 to October 2017 where I found viltigo getting better and worse
⁃       In between that I saw a Nutrionist had lots of blood tests done to see if i was lacking anything in my body which was causing it
⁃       Personal development seminars with tony Robbins, Richard bandler and Paul mc kenna
⁃       Read lots of books both health and non health related. Louise hay taught me to love myself and gain acceptance by doing affirmations. Deepak chopra quantum healing. Elkhart tolle power of now. So many motivational and inspirational books.

WHAT treatments worked for you and what was a waste of time/money?
⁃       Uv treatment
⁃       Louise hay
⁃       fitness competition made me stronger to speak about this both physically and emotionally. Robert Holden says exercise release happy endorphins highly recommend people to incorporate it into daily life. Change of focus whilst training for competition I found vitiligo to get better

WHERE can people go to get help?

I didn’t find support available apart from family What I’m looking to do is create vitpogo awareness month
Get machinery from milan in Uk

HOW does the future look?

The future is what we make of it.Some people might be ok with the viltigo.Those who aren’t speak to your fiends and family about how you’re feeling. Let it go and be present and enjoy life. I’m not going to say it’s easy it’s taken me 15 years to speak about it but now I have I feel free

Journey of doing the fitness competition, your challenges and highlights?
⁃ I entered fitness competition as a bit of fun! Little did I know how challenging it would be. I have so much respect for anyone who’s ever entered a fitness competition it takes so much discipline! It’s life changing. I’ve learnt so much about healthy eating, training! It’s a lifestyle change! I’m so grateful to Sav at muscleworks for training me. When all the other trainers said I couldn’t do it he had faith in me! He’s been training me 6 days a week for the last 16 weeks. 3 weeks I was ill this was 2 weeks before the competition and I was so close to giving up. One thing I’ve realised ove rthme last 6 months since I’ve signed up for the competition is that when I shifted my focus and stopped thinking about the vitiligo it’s actually getting better. I’m actually now talking to people about the skin condition as opposed to hiding/covering it up.

what makes me successful business woman ?
⁃inspirational, believe in work had play hard, dream big and never give up! When people think I can’t do it I prove them wrong

What do I do?-
property portfolio landlord and property developer

How did I start my business?

- age of 19 when I was at university

Describe myself?

 - confident, love shopping

What do I do in my spare time?

Travelling chilling out with friends new challenges

What challenges me?

 - when someone says I can’t do it

What inspires me?

 - other inspirational women such as Priyanka Chopra

What does ninu stand for?

- unique, confident, successful Indian woman

How do you want to be remembered?

- having made a change, leaving a legacy! Want my parents to be proud of me.

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