Meet Liz Lara, a 29 year old from Quito, Ecuador now residing in New York. Liz has been living with Vitiligo for the last five years. At the age of 24, Liz was tanning under the sun on vacation in Miami when she noticed a big white spot on her chin.
Liz decided to make an appointment with dermatologist Dr. Gerald upon her return to New York. He diagnosed Liz with Vitiligo instantaneously. Liz sought treatment right away. She had tried Quantum medicine and UVB lights. The treatments showed no improvements and the spots quickly spread throughout her body. Due to a lack of progress, Liz decided to forgo all treatments. Vitiligo now covers about 60 percent of her body. After receiving four blood transfusions as a result of birthing her daughter, her doctor’s speculated her Vitiligo developed due to low levels of Vitamin D and Iron.
As an adult, Vitiligo changed Liz’s life. She got separated from her first husband who did not support or understand her situation. He began negatively comparing Liz with other girls. Her self esteem plummeted and she felt as if she no longer deserved to be in a stable relationship. Liz’s grandfather who lives with Vitiligo on his hands, had already introduced her family to the skin condition, but her family did not know how to react to her condition being so extreme.
Liz fell into a state of depression. She stopped going to school and she struggled to keep a stable job. Liz turned to make up so people wouldn’t notice or question her skin condition. It takes Liz a lot of time to leave the house because she has to apply makeup to her face and makeup spray to her arms and legs.
“I once saw a woman with Vitiligo in the street and she said to me, ‘’I love myself, everybody is different, and I am glad I am different in this way.’’ Now I try to be proud of who I am and try to accept my skin condition.”
In 2015, Liz got married to her first love. He loved her before she developed Vitiligo and he loves her now with Vitiligo. He finds Liz’s Vitiligo sexy.
“With the help and guidance of my husband, my loved ones, and my therapists I have come to embrace my spots. I have searched for support groups and have realized I am not alone with this condition. I have stopped thinking about what people will think and I focus on loving myself.”
“Yes, I still use makeup and not because I am embarrassed about my Vitiligo but because I’ve found the transition to take time, and that is okay.”
Photos by Liz Lara and Tiffany Grant.
author Tiffany Grant