What is your name?
Hi, my name is Veronica.
What is your skin condition?
I have an autoimmune skin condition called vitiligo. As yet, the cause is unknown, although there are some theories. In my case, it is a secondary condition to a primary immune deficiency with which I was born.
The vitiligo has caused the pigment in my skin to disappear. It began when I was in my late teens, in small stages at first, around eyes, mouth, and joints. It was very damaging psychologically, as my skin, which was olive in tone, began to show pure white patches.
It was quite dramatic, very frightening, and often these patches appeared overnight. Think about a Holstein cow skin; that is what my skin began to look like!
How does your skin condition affect your day-to-day living?
God has used vitiligo to increase my compassion for others with physical abnormalities. So many people stared and pointed, looked away, or gasped and asked if I had been burned (I suppose it looked like scar tissue).
Looking 'different' is extremely difficult, and the more we treat others with kindness, and do not look away, or stare, the easier it gets; for all of us. I am currently fifty-nine years old, and my skin has reversed so that now I am completely albino, with the exception of a few patches of pigmented skin on my calves.
Even the hair on my head is as white as freshly fallen snow. I think this will be the year that it will grow out naturally, and no longer will colouring be used. As a child, it was dark brown; recently it has been coloured blonde in anticipation of the freedom of natural white. Ahhh, turning sixty is so liberating! If I had known there would be this great freedom in getting older, I would have done it long ago.
This condition affects my day-to-day living in that my skin will burn with just a few minutes of sunlight. I could wear sunblock, but do not appreciate the way it feels, and it doesn’t always work well.
What you have found to alleviate it?
With Solbari sunscreen wear, I am able to be out in the sun all day long, if I so desire. I have a full-body swimsuit that allows me the freedom to float a river and go through the gentle rapids or swim and boogie board in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans for hours at a time.
The coolness of the water also helps ease the joint pain that accompanies this disease. I am very grateful for the advances in technology that allow myself — and others like me - the freedom so many can take for granted.
Thank you Veronica for helping raise awareness for skin conditions by sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.