Living with Vitiligo by Elana

Living with Vitiligo has been both the most challenging and rewarding part of my life. As a young child aged 4 I have to admit that I was blissfully unaware of any difference between other children and myself. I never experienced any animosity, cruelty or name-calling and for that I must be eternally grateful, as not everyone is so fortunate.

It wasn't until I approached schooling age when I saw the true effect and noticed my family felt a need to hide the fact that I was different.

My parents pursued the matter with the local GP who referred us to a hospital outpatient's clinic that could supply a camouflage cream. I never ever had a problem with the trips to the doctors, hospitals or people, but when we arrived at the camouflage unit and my vitiligo was covered up I knew I was different.

School began and everyone would have been none the wiser except that the make up provided was actually too dark for my skin so there was a noticeable difference.

By now the only way I could make sense of it was to think that God somehow couldn't decide which colour to make me and so he gave me the best of both worlds. 

This provided me with comfort but unfortunately could not carry me through the times I felt alone and unhappy with the way I looked. My mother was my rock and helped me through every step of the way, applying the cover cream in the mornings and telling me how beautiful I was when I took my make up off at night.

Eventually my dad and I were introduced to Dermablend and managed to obtain it on prescription which was perfect timing as by this point I was a teenager and appearance was everything at that age.

For the next ten years I forgot that I had vitiligo as the Dermablend opened so many doors for me. I was able to go swimming and not worry about reapplying throughout the day. 

The colour match was so perfect that it meant I didn't have to tell anybody unless I wanted to. However by not being honest with people other than my family I still was not accepting the fact that this was likely to be with me for the rest of my life and I still had never asked myself if this was something I could cope with forever.

Eventually in my early twenties and after being refused treatment by a private doctor I finally managed to accept my vitiligo and take in the positive effect it has had on my life.