June is a month dedicated to raising awareness of vitiligo, and on the 25 June it’s World Vitiligo Day. It’s a day I love, and a great reminder to celebrate, educate others and support those still going through the journey to embracing their vitiligo.
I, like many others who have the skin condition vitiligo, have been through a lifelong journey of acceptance and embracing who I am. When I was a teenager and my vitiligo first formed, I really remember the grossness and resentment I felt towards myself and my skin. With our skin being the cover to ourselves, if you don’t like yourself on the outside the hatred towards yourself on the inside just seems to spiral out of control.
I felt very vulnerable during the first few years of having the condition. I was in despair, and I was ready to try anything to get rid of my condition. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to fix my vitiligo. What I didn’t know at the time, but I try and share and advocate now, is that the true secret to accepting your condition and feeling happier is being able to embrace yourself for who you are.
But how? The first step is knowing and getting the right support for you! Amazing examples, many of which really helped me, include:
- Our skin difference community: it is wholesome and simply beautiful. The great thing about social media is that you can connect with other people from all over the world, who are also going through their own journey with their skin and different conditions. I see more and more people celebrating who they are, sharing their stories, being listened too and being supported. I couldn’t be prouder to see this, as we have come so far. This community is here for you too!
- There are amazing support charities: Changing Faces is a well-established charity here in the UK, supporting those with all types of visible difference, including vitiligo and other skin conditions. They’ve got different types of support and advice services, including free 1-1 counselling and wellbeing support. They also produce great education resources that you can share with schools and employers, and they run a Skin Camouflage Service. Using skin camouflage, which is like specialist make-up, was an important step in my vitiligo journey. It helped me to stop hiding myself away, it gave me confidence, and using it was actually the first step towards eventually being comfortable in my skin without the need to wear it anymore.
I share my experiences because it’s important you know the huge amount of worth you have. Your vitiligo is a unique skin condition of beauty, and with small steps forward you will hopefully see that too.
Remember that it takes time to really embrace who you are, life is a journey and so is learning to understand what you have, how to perceive it and celebrate it. Make sure you recognise your achievements no matter how big or small. That’s why this month and day is so great, it reminds us of where we have been, and what we can achieve. It’s time to celebrate who we are.
Don’t let your vitiligo define your insecurities, let it define your confidence.