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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Hauber

Learning to Live with Vitiligo




 

Let’s face it…we live in a society where looks matter. I do not consider myself to be overly vain, but I most definitely care about the way I look.  So, when, at the age of 29, I started getting these little white spots on my hands and feet, I began to freak out a little. I went to see a dermatologist and was told I have vitiligo. The only time I had ever heard of this condition was when it related to Michael Jackson. 

 

So, what is vitiligo? It is an autoimmune condition where a person’s own immune system attacks their body’s melanocytes (the cells responsible for our skin and hair color). When the melanocytes are destroyed, the pigment (color) in certain areas of the skin begins to disappear.  In the beginning, this was a minor nuisance.  I could usually cover it up with a little dab of makeup.  I was also fortunate because it remained dormant for many years. 

 

When I turned 42, it came back vigorously. These small white spots became large white patches. and then it began to attack my knees and elbows.  Eleven years later, at the age of 53, it now fully covers my feet and hands, most of my arms, a good portion of my legs, and yes…it is now on my face. For a long time, I was extremely insecure about the way I looked.  I remember a little boy asking his mom what was wrong with my legs. I spent so much time and money on every type of makeup you can imagine.  Almost all of them transferred on to my clothes, and it was so hard to get the right match.  I owned so many colors of foundation and concealer that I could have opened up my own beauty store!  I was excited when a new Rx cream came out called Opzelura that helped so many people regain pigment, but I was dismayed to discover that it did not work for me.  

 

Over the past several years, I have been on a journey inward to help heal my mind, body, and spirit.  I believe my vitiligo is giving me another lesson in self-love.  As I continue to grow in my recovery, I am learning to love myself in a way I never could before. I have become much less insecure about the outside, and more confident about what is on the inside.  God made me this way, and I believe he is crazy about me just the way I am. I keep progressing towards the goal of feeling the same way. About a year ago, I slowly started venturing out in the world without covering my body (with the exception of my eyes). The freedom this gave me was so exhilarating! I became able to overlook stares from other people and to understand that this is usually due to curiosity rather than judgement.  It no longer took me 2 hours to get ready before I walked out the door, and I was no longer worried about staining my clothes.  Today, for the most part, I choose to let others see the real me. I say “for the most part” because, if I am honest, I will still cover up at certain times.  But I continue to strive for progress not perfection, and I know I am headed in the right direction. Have a great day everyone!




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2 Comments


vivah2o
Feb 13

I am sorry to read that you have to deal with this, but you have come to discover that real beauty is definitely not skin deep! You radiate your inner beauty for all of us to see! My Aunt Nan had this condition, she was my mother's sister, the last of the generation. She was a pasty faced Irish woman and never sat in the sun. Mostly it affected her arms and hands. She always wore pants or longer skirts so no clue about her legs! Take care and thanks for sharing, as always!


Mary Alice

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Jennifer Hauber
Jennifer Hauber
Feb 16
Replying to

Thank you so much 🥰

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