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

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