"We are not defined by our skin."

By Paola Fernandez
December 20, 2018

Vitiligo, a rare condition affecting only about 1% of the world population, causes the skin to lose its natural color. Patches of lighter skin appear, ranging from a few spots to sometimes covering most of the body. Vitiligo may also affect the pigment of other parts of the body including the hair, eyes, and inside of the mouth.

Scientists have not yet discovered the exact cause of the skin condition, but it is not contagious nor life-threatening. However, vitiligo can be life-altering in the sense that it can cause low self-esteem and may even lead to depression. The seven women below show that embracing their vitiligo and overcoming their fears has led them to lead more fulfilling and confident lives.

RELATED: These 8 Women With PCOS Are Embracing Their Beards and Body Hair

Jam Davis

“I’m always smiling regardless of what I go through," Davis captioned one Instagram post. "Truth be told troubling times will always make me stronger, will continue [to] help me see real growth, and will show me no matter the circumstances I will always love myself! I will always accept myself…I’m different, I’m unique, and I’ve always accepted that since I was 8. I also want people with #vitiligo to know. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE!”

Tanesha Brown

Brown, who goes by @vitiligoqueen on Insta, wrote: “You know we all come here with something flawed. Nobody is perfect, but having #vitiligo is like you can see everything on the outside. Everything is so visible of what’s 'wrong' with me but vitiligo isn’t what’s wrong, it happens to be everything right… I represent for those of you who feel counted out because you don’t fit into social “norms” or a universal standard beauty. You can admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own. YOU ARE ENOUGH!”

Boitumelo Rametsi

“Empathy and dynamic resilience are the companions that help get through the things of the world," Rametsi captioned a 'gram. "It may hurt but IT'S OKAY.”

Winnie Harlow

"It was best for me when I started loving myself and other people could see that. I more so appreciate people loving the fact that I love myself and not just glorifying my skin or me," the model and activist told Teen Vogue. “That was something instilled in me from my family and my mother, but I lost it due to being bullied and things I experienced growing up. For me, it was more about finding that again and realizing that any opinions that were negative towards me were not worth my time or emotion," she said. "Know that feeling different is not wrong or negative. We are all different!"

RELATED: Winnie Harlow Just Became the First Model With Vitiligo to Walk in the VS Fashion Show and We’re So Here for It

Carissa Orr

“We are all at different points in our Vitiligo journey and wherever you happen to be with yours know that you are not alone," Orr wrote on Instagram. "There is beauty in you and we are not defined by our skin. It’s a special part of us but only a piece. Rejoice in that piece as often and boldly as you can.”

Logina Salah

“When I first got it I was so insecure about how I looked and how the community would accept me, so I used to always try to cover it by mixing different shades of eyeshadow and foundation,” Salah, a Beverly Hills, California-based makeup artist, told Yahoo! Lifestyle. “But not long ago I started to accept myself as I am… It’s OK to hide what you believe to be a ‘flaw’ sometimes, but don’t let them get in and destroy your inner peace. Whomever is judgmental is an insecure person. Never build your self-esteem on his opinion and let his opinion get into you and shape who you are or how you act.”

Tiffany Taylor

Taylor quoted Eleanor Roosevelt in an Instagram caption: "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." Relating Roosevelt's words to her own life, she continued, "For me that fear was finally letting go of my crutch (covering my vitiligo with loads of makeup), accepting my skin, standing up, and walking out the doors into this world in my natural skin!"

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