Approximately 50 million people in the world are living with vitiligo. This equates to around 1 in 100 that have the condition. Many people now feel empowered to embrace their depigmented skin, with thanks to body positive models such as Winnie Harlow now being more visible in the mainstream media. However, for many living with vitiligo, confidence and body positivity is made difficult by ignorance and lack of knowledge. We recently asked our followers on Instagram and Facebook ‘How does having Vitiligo make you feel?’ The responses were mixed, many using words like ‘unique, special, different, empowered’ while others used words such as ‘anxious, ugly, judged, sad’ to tell us how it makes them feel.
In a world where visibility has never been more prominent due to social media; if you look different or have visual skin defects such as vitiligo it can feel like your identity is constantly being questioned. VITILIGLOW® Founder, Polly Gotschi has lived with vitiligo for most of her life. Tired of trying to cover her depigmented skin with foundations and make-ups, or products that just took too long to apply, Polly decided enough was enough. To get what she wanted, she would have to create it herself.
So began the story of VITILIGLOW®. Polly was asked why she creating VITILIGLOW®, “I wanted to create a product that is quick and easy to use daily and comes in a range of shades. I wanted to tackle common problems such as rubbing off, streaks in water and not looking like part of your natural skin tone.” Polly worked tirelessly with specialists to create the formula and manufacturers to produce the product. It wasn’t always easy, and she faced many barriers in the creation of VITILIGLOW®. Despite facing difficulties in the beginning, Polly continued with her passion to give those living with vitiligo a choice. Now, globally there are 8,000 people that are using VITILIGLOW® products and Polly is constantly amazed at the results and customer reviews.
VITILIGLOW® is available for worldwide delivery and comes in 11 shades, contains SPF 30 and has a 5* UVA/UVB rating. It is long-lasting, water resistant, sweat-proof, transfer-resistant, and has been designed to cover even the most awkwardly placed and largest of depigmented patches. If you are considering covering your vitiligo, VITILIGLOW® has you covered.
We are very proud and excited to announce our partnership with The Vitiligo Society, a partnership to continue supporting those with vitiligo to live the lives they want to live. Look out for further information on the partnership in the coming months.
Disclaimer: VITILIGLOW® is not the only provider of camouflage covers in the market. We advise all potential customers to research, read reviews, and investigate the shades and options available to you.
The Vitiligo Society:
The Vitiligo Society was established in 1985 and we support people living with vitiligo in the UK.
Our Mission is to beat vitiligo by eradicating the psychological, social and physical effects that vitiligo has on people’s lives, and by finding effective treatments and a cure.In order to achieve our mission we focus on five priority areas of work which we feel represent us as a Society and what we need to do to best support and represent our community. These are:
Find out more at https://vitiligosociety.org/
The team at VITILIGLOW® are huge advocates of maintaining positive mental health and with Mental Health Awareness Week taking place this week, I wanted to talk about the mental health implications for people with vitiligo and other skin conditions and visible differences. It’s no secret that I have struggled with having vitiligo since I developed my first patches more than 25 years ago.
Personally, I cover up every day and make sure that my depigmented patches are fully camouflaged using VITILIGLOW® before I leave the house. But others with vitiligo are far more confident and embrace their patches. Our good friend and supporter Joti Gata-Aura from Positively Diverse has spent the 20 years since her patches first appeared learning to love her skin. She is now super comfortable showing her patches to the world. There is no right or wrong answer here – your journey with vitiligo is unique and you must be comfortable with yourself whether you choose to cover your patches like me or are happy not to cover up, like Joti and my two sons, who also have vitiligo.
A few months ago, Joti and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Liz Ritchie, a body image therapist and psychotherapist from the mental healthcare charity where I work full time. Liz supported Little Mix star Jesy Nelson in her award-winning BBC documentary, Odd One Out. Liz wanted to talk to both Joti and I to see how we started off over 20 years ago at the point where we both tried to conceal our vitiligo, yet Joti has gone through the process of fully embracing her patches in recent years, but I still cannot bear any minute where I’m not fully camouflaged.
Here are our videos discussing our struggles, thoughts and hopes about mental health, self-acceptance and living with vitiligo.
We talked a lot about self-acceptance and how it doesn’t matter whether you cover your patches or choose not to (or do it sometimes, depending on how you feel). The important thing is that you accept this ‘thing’ that you are given and live your best life. Liz talked to us about the routines I undertake rigidly every day and the ways that Joti took small steps to get out of her comfort zone to fully reveal her vitiligo.
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’. These five things are: connect, take notice, give, be active and keep learning. Given the pandemic situation that we have been living in and dealing with over the past year, taking some time out to focus on ourselves and embrace who we truly are is the most valuable gift we can give to ourselves in our life.
Founder of VITILIGLOW®
This International Women’s Day 2021, we have collaborated with some inspiring women who all have vitiligo. It can sometimes be lonely or isolating with vitiligo, but it’s important to recognise that there are so many of us who all have vitiligo and similar vitiligo stories.
The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #ChooseToChallenge. There is lots of discussion about this hashtag on social media today and over the coming weeks, and it’s the perfect time for us to #ChooseToChallenge peoples’ views on vitiligo. There is so much mis-information about what vitiligo is. I’ve even experienced people asking me if they can catch vitiligo from me! If you have vitiligo or another visible difference, choose to challenge peoples’ perspectives of skin conditions and visible differences this International Women’s Day by posting some facts about your skin condition, like vitiligo. I'll be posting about and tagging some inspiring women who have vitiligo.
For International Women's Day this year, I spoke to Mehak, Sappir, Joti, Natalie, Hanni, Anita and Albany about their favourite inspiring quotes, and I’m delighted to share their beautiful photos and quotes below.
“Make your spots, scars, birthmarks and other visible differences shine BRIGHT. Sometimes, all you need is to make your insecurities your greatest power.”
“It took me 20 years to accept myself and love myself, and once that happened, I realised I did not need anyone’s approval regarding my special appearance. I love and accept myself as I am and it is a victory for me.”
“To all the beautiful women all around the world; do not ever forget this… Be Seen, Be Heard, Be You. Never be ashamed of who are you and where you come from and keep striving for what you believe in.”
Natalie said that the way women are supporting, encouraging and empowering each other in recent years is awe-inspiring. She feels incredibly lucky and honoured to be part of a community where a strong sense of ‘togetherness’ exists. There is extreme pressure to look and ‘fit’ in amongst societal ‘norms’, however, the vitiligo community continue to remind Natalie that we can be ourselves with grace and be proud of who we are, in both past and present. One of Natalie’s favourite quotes is from Brene Brown: “one day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” Natalie said, “It’s words like this that remind me of my purpose and why I’m proud that I do what I do.”
“Just because you don’t fit society’s standards of beauty, doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful. You are beautiful in all of your ways.”
“The secret of change is focusing all our energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.”
“I have been gifted a new set of eyes in which to see this world, and my Vitiligo is my super power! Perspective is everything.”
I really hope these quotes inspire you just as much as they did me. I absolutely loved reading them; they’re so empowering and remind us just how important it is to talk to each other about vitiligo and share our vitiligo stories to keep raising awareness of visible differences and skin conditions.
In conversation with Liz Ritchie, Joti Gata-Aura and Polly Gotschi features a series of videos filmed in 2020 discussing topics around vitiligo, body confidence, social media and self-acceptance.
Integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor Liz Ritchie has been a therapist in a secure mental health hospital for 30 years. In 2019, she featured in Little Mix star Jesy Nelson’s BBC Three documentary Odd One Out where Jesy bared all about her experiences with social media trolls. Liz explored how social media fuelled Jesy’s body image struggles.
As a British-Asian presenter, online influencer and founder of Positively Diverse, Joti Gata-Aura has a wealth of experience in talking about social media and mental wellbeing. As someone with vitiligo, Joti knows all too well the struggles that some people with vitiligo face, including issues with body confidence and self-esteem.
Talking about vitiligo is so important to raise awareness, support each other and be open about our mental wellbeing, so each video in the series focuses on a different topic.
Take a look at the full video in conversation with Liz Ritchie, Joti Gata-Aura and Polly Gotschi.
If you are someone who is struggling with your body image and confidence, you can reach out to Liz, Joti and myself. Contact us on Instagram (@positivelydiverse and @vitiliglowinfo), Facebook (Positively Diverse and VITILIGLOW®), or by visiting our websites (Liz Ritchie, Positively Diverse, VITILIGLOW®).