Creams, dyes, and blends…oh my!

After stopping the UV therapy, I continued to use steroid creams on my vitiligo patches. I used them off and on for maybe 2 years. I say off and on, because I was also using creams for my eczema. Between figuring out when to alternate those creams and finding lotions that would keep my skin moisturized without breaking out, it was all getting to be a bit much. I was also slightly scared of the warning on all these medications that said: May cause skin thinning and redness.

Not exactly what a young college student needs…thin, reddish, light-brown/white random patches of skin in the midst of my dark complexion. No thank you!

Enjoying a trip to Athens during my study abroad time.

My doctor also recommended I try dying my spots for longer cosmetic coverage. There was one called vitadye (or something like that). You apply this to your skin and it’s supposed to be waterproof for up to a week before fading, at which point, you just reapply. (I checked the internet and don’t see it anymore, so I think I’m safe when I say IT DID NOT WORK!) Lol. It was as thin as water, and came in a small bottle like nail polish. You used the brush to apply the dye, waited a couple of minutes for it to dry, and then added another layer. Now, you see how dark skinned I am. After 30-some odd coats of dye, I gave up. At best, my patch was the shade of the palm of my hand. #fail

Then I tried DermaBlend makeup. While I was advised how well this coverup worked in the modeling world (to hide tattoos, scars, etc), it was the 90s…nude/coffee was often the darkest shade of brown you could find. (DermaBlend is still around and now offers much darker tones for people of color.) My chest didn’t blend as well as the area around my eye, but my face was more exposed so that was most important to me at the time.

I also began to acquire an endless wardrobe of crew neck tops and sleeveless turtlenecks to get me through the summer months. Unfortunately, after some time, almost every shirt I owned had makeup stains at the neckline. And if I sweat to much, you could see the color begin to fade away or even run down my shirt. I was constantly worrying about it showing. Not even my closest friends knew what was going on for the first few years. It’s interesting now to see the picture above and recall all the trouble I went through to cover that spot.

Of course, colder months I could take a break from the worry. Long sleeves and heavy sweaters were much easier to hide my vitiligo, until…

My vitiligo started developing on my hands. There was no way I could apply makeup to my hands. Every time I would need to wash my hands, I would be washing off whatever makeup I had applied. What was I going to do now? Even some of palm lines lost pigmentation.

I was confronted with changes that I could not control, fix, or hide. I decided to face my change. (I say face, because embracing it didn’t come until later.) It was a good thing too, because Spoiler Alert: over the next few years, by the time of finished college, my vitiligo wasn’t just a few quarter-sized patches anymore.

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