Elena's story

Living with vitiligo has been the most challenging and rewarding part of Elena's life. She tells her story.

"As a child aged four, I was blissfully unaware of any difference between myself and other children. I never experienced any animosity, cruelty or name-calling. For that, I must be grateful, as not everyone is so fortunate.

"It wasn't until I approached school age that I saw the true effect. I noticed that my family felt a need to hide the fact that I was different. My parents spoke to the local GP, who referred us to a hospital outpatient's clinic that could supply me with a camouflage cream.

"I never had a problem with the trips to the doctors or hospitals, but when we arrived at the camouflage unit and my vitiligo was covered up, I knew I was different.

"School began, and everyone would have been none the wiser, except that the make-up was too dark for my skin, so there was a noticeable difference. At times I felt alone and unhappy with the way I looked.

"My mother was my rock. She helped me through every step, applying the cover cream in the mornings and telling me how beautiful I was when I took my make-up off at night.

"Eventually, my dad and I were introduced to Dermablend [camouflage make-up], and we managed to obtain it on prescription. It was perfect timing as I was now a teenager and appearance was very important at that age.

"For the next 10 years, I forgot that I had vitiligo as the Dermablend gave me so many opportunities. I could go swimming and not worry about reapplying throughout the day. The colour match was so perfect that I didn't have to tell anybody unless I wanted to.

"After contacting The Vitiligo Society, I've been referred to Guy's & St Thomas' hospital, where they're treating my vitiligo with a steroid cream.

"So far it's going really well. I'm hopeful that this will mean not spending five minutes a day applying make-up. If not, then I'm happy to continue, as my vitiligo has made me who I am today and has never stopped me from pursuing anything in my life."

Page last reviewed: 17/10/2016
Next review due: 17/10/2019