I Have Vitiligo. Here’s What It’s Like to Live With This Rare Skin Condition

In my case, I wouldn’t be surprised if emotional strain were the trigger, since at that time I was more stressed than I’d ever been in my life. I was in the midst of my high school graduation, my final days with a dance studio I had considered a second home for nearly 10 years, and a heart-wrenching breakup from my first serious boyfriend. Everything in my life was changing, and now my body was, too.

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I was stunned by my diagnosis. Whenever I’d had a medical issue before, I could just take a pill or see another doctor to make it better. Topical creams, oral medications, UVA light treatments, and surgery may ease vitiligo symptoms, but there’s no cure. It can come back at any time, for any reason. I felt totally powerless.

I started college feeling even more stressed. To even out my skin tone, I globbed concealer on my face and slathered tanning lotions all over my body. Some of the white patches would stay put, some would get brighter, and new ones would pop up, but none of them ever went away. Doctors gave me a topical cream to put on the patches, but they said it probably wouldn’t do anything anyway. My self-confidence plummeted. I felt ugly.

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