My Vitiligo Journey


Hi friends! Today I decided to share a little something about me that maybe some of you may know, but many of you do not know. Back in early 2016 I was diagnosed with Vitiligo and for a moment it turned my world upside down. I know it seems dramatic but I am being honest about how I was feeling during that time and I want to share my story with you guys.



It started when I first moved to California in 2016 when I began noticing that my body was tanning, but many areas on my face were not. I noticed that my forehead wasn't tanning at all, and assumed it had to do with the sun, but did become mildly concerned. Of course I started googling (the worst thing you can do) and I saw many conditions with symptoms that sounded close to what I was experiencing, but one diagnosis sounded spot on- vitiligo. 

What is vitiligo? Medical News Today describes vitiligo as this:

"Vitiligo is a skin condition in which patches of skin loses their color. The total area of skin that can be affected by vitiligo varies between individuals. It can also affect the eyes, the inside of mouth, and the hair. In most cases, the affected areas remain discolored for the rest of the person’s life. The condition is photosensitive. This means that the areas that are affected will be more sensitive to sunlight than those that are not.It is hard to predict whether the patches will spread, and by how much. The spread might take weeks, or the patches might remain stable for months or years. The lighter patches tend to be more visible in people with dark or tanned skin."


I panicked. I had never heard of vitiligo and didn't know a lot about it, but when I found out what it was, I realized this would have been my worst case scenario out of all the other possible options. Other conditions causing white patches could be fixed with some creams and what not... Vitiligo had no cure. I made an appointment with a dermatologist immediately.

After talking to me and looking at me for 5 minutes the Dermatologist diagnosed with me Vitiligo. He prescribed me an ointment to wear daily that could possibly halt the progression of my condition with absolutely no guarantees, and wanted me to follow up with him in a month or so. I hated the ointment and I hated the doctor because I felt like he just gave me the worst possible news and sent me on my way. Even though I had done plenty of investigating on my own and thought my condition sounded like vitiligo, I didn't accept the diagnosis. Me? Vitiligo? No way! I found another dermatologist!

The second dermatologist thought my condition was unique and said it wasn't necessarily vitiligo. He wanted to try a few other treatments first and then go from there if my skin didn't respond. After a month or so, I saw no change. In fact, the depigmenting spread and it was worse. He recommended a biopsy to find out once and for all if this was truly vitiligo or not. They did a biopsy, removing some skin from above my eyebrow and sent it off to the lab. The results came in, it was in fact vitiligo.

My dermatologist thinks the stress of moving across the country may have been a trigger and my immune system just went crazy. He immediately started me on steroid injections, which he explained would help stop the spread, and had me using two different creams. The steroids had a lot of side effects so we stopped those, but I continued the use of creams. Fast-forward 4 years and the depigment has spread to other areas of my body, but the spots on my face have improved SO much. 

While I am happy to have my pigment back, I learned a lot throughout my journey with vitiligo. The first several months were the hardest because I was so used to having great skin and I was sick of the questions and stares from others. People checking me out at the grocery store would ask "oh, did you get really bad sunburn?" I would cry because I felt like having patchy skin made me ugly. I considered getting bangs and I wore baseball caps all the time.

I eventually got so sick of wearing ball caps... I slowly began to accept my condition and myself; you don't need perfect skin to be beautiful. It took a lot for me to realize this, but it's amazing how much better I feel accepting myself completely, perfect skin or not. It seems as though once I began to accept the things I could not change, my skin started going repigmenting. Something my dermatologist told me almost certainly would not happen began happening. My patches on my face are almost completely repigmented, and the other areas of my body affected are covered, so nobody knows but me.

While I am so happy to have most of my pigment back, I realize now that imperfect skin does not define my beauty or my self-worth. Nobody is perfect; we all have quirks and many of us could find things we would change about the way we look. But at the end of the day we need to love ourselves just as we are. Just being alive in itself is a gift and I am so fortunate that this condition is purely an anesthetic one and I am blessed to have my health.

Thanks for listening to my little skin story!


4 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I've definitely heard of it but never knew anyone that had it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing your journey! I've not heard of Vitiligo before. So glad you've found healing, both repigmenting & loving your complete self! XO

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing! I can imagine how scary that must've been at first. You are beautiful in both pictures though-- and you're right, this does not define you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. OH wow; that must have been so scary at first! I'm glad you found a second doctor that treated you better and was able to answer your questions better.

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate and love all questions and comments!