I was in the first grade when my family and I began to notice white patches on my skin. At first, it seemed like my mom had just done a poor job putting sunscreen on but as time went on the white patches stayed. They seemed to only be on my knees, ankles, elbows, and back and seemed to only develop near boney places on my body. They did seem to not be growing anymore after the initial finding bu what started out as what we thought was just and sunscreen application turned into the skin condition vitiligo. Being young when we came to this diagnosis, I did not have a great understanding of what it really was and how it even affected me. To me, I was lucky that my vitiligo did not spread and was fairly unnoticeable. The white patches on my knees seemed like scars and were virtually not there unless it was summer and I was tan.
Vitiligo did not bug me much when I was a kid.
Vitiligo causes a lack of pigmentation called melanin in the skin. Melanin is basically what gives skin its color. The lack of melanin causes the white patches of skin and can even occur on hair. I was lucky enough to have very mild vitiligo compared to others who may have it develop everywhere. There are actually plenty of famous people who have, or had, the same skin condition as I do. Michael Jackson is probably one of the most famous people with vitiligo — his condition is the reason he ended up bleaching his skin. One of the most famous models right now Winnie Harlow is known in the model industry for her vitiligo skin is what has defined her in her modeling career.
My skin condition has caused me to learn to be very confident in my own body.
I've had to learn to live with this skin condition because it is permanent and not going anywhere. It also can be genetic so I have to know it can follow me into my future. Having vitiligo has made me a stronger and better person. I feel like because I grew up with vitiligo and my skin has always been different and imperfect I never notice other people's imperfections. I see everyone for who they are inside and out and I never judge because I know what it feels like to not be perfect.
Vitiligo may be permanent but it is a part of who I am and I would not change a thing about it.