Last week, Joti held an IGTV live session with me to discuss skin camouflage, covering up vitiligo and the background behind VITILIGLOW®. I first met Joti several years ago and I’ve been following her on Instagram ever since. Over a quarter of Joti’s followers on Instagram completely cover up and use a cover-up product like makeup or vitiligo camouflage, so clearly many of us feel the same about covering our depigmented patches.
In case you missed any of the live stream on IGTV, I thought I’d write up some of our conversation in this blog post about my honest experience with vitiligo and how developing and using VITILIGLOW® has given me back my confidence. You can also head over to Joti’s Instagram feed (@vitiligo_and_me on Instagram) to watch the live stream in full.
My vitiligo journey
I’ve now had vitiligo for over 20 years. My patches have developed over that time and I’ve lost around 70% of my pigment now. I choose to cover my patches, but there are a lot of people out there who are confident and choose not to cover their patches, and that’s totally fine. My eldest son has vitiligo – he has dark skin so it’s quite noticeable on him – and he chooses not to cover his patches. Whereas I’m quite the opposite – I always cover my patches. Joti also chose to cover up with full face and body coverage for 18 years. I know there are many of you who choose to cover your patches too.
Going back over 20 years, when I was first diagnosed, I had very little knowledge about vitiligo and very little experience of the condition. I didn’t know anyone with vitiligo. None of my family had vitiligo. When I was first diagnosed, I don’t think I really understood how it was going to affect me long-term. I started off with a really small patch on my wrist. It was only when another small patch came up on my other wrist in the same place – I had symmetrical vitiligo – that the doctors were finally able to diagnose it as vitiligo.
For the first few years, I didn’t really let vitiligo bother me. I carried on going out in the sun, wearing the clothes I’d always worn. It’s only when the patches started to spread and became more noticeable that it started to affect me and my confidence. It was at that point that I began my journey of looking for something to cover it up.
Be proud of covering up
Joti agreed that covering your patches can make you feel good. We shouldn’t be ashamed to say that we cover up our patches to feel more confident. I work full-time in healthcare and I want people to listen to me when I do a presentation, for example, and not just be distracted by my vitiligo and patches. For me, it’s easier to cover up and blend in with others!
Joti explained in our IGTV session that the idea of ‘fitting in’ isn’t just related to skin conditions. Many people feel the pressure to ‘fit in’ with others in society and on social media. It’s a topic that the Mental Health Foundation is taking seriously and they’re doing something about it. There are so many people who are dealing with this pressure.
The creation of VITILIGLOW®
This need to cover my patches led me to creating VITILIGLOW®. I wanted to create a product that is quick and easy to use on a daily basis. Traditional camouflage products are generally a three-step process; you have to use a primer, then a shade, then a setting powder or finishing spray, which can take a long time to apply. For me, with depigmentation increasing all over my body, I couldn’t do that every day. By the time I’d covered all my patches in that way, it’d be time to go to bed! So that’s why I wanted to create VITILIGLOW® – a product that is quick and easy to apply every day, doesn’t need any powders or setting sprays, and doesn’t rub off. It’s also water resistant. You can use VITILIGLOW® all over your whole body, and even on your face. I apply VITILIGLOW® every day to cover my patches so I wanted to make it good value for money.
Creating VITILIGLOW® has been an up and down rollercoaster with manufacturers and formulas – it’s taken a good few years to get to where we are – but the formula is the best yet. Even now, I’m still trying to improve the formula – I won’t stop until it’s the perfect product that we all deserve! I still work full-time because money from the VITILIGLOW® sales goes back into developing and improving the products.
Running VITILIGLOW® isn’t all about selling a product. It’s about supporting people; supporting those who want to cover up and supporting those who don’t want to cover up. We ran a successful #VitiliglowConfidence campaign on Instagram which celebrated vitiligo and people who choose not to cover up their depigmented patches.
If you want to watch the IGTV live session in full, head over to Joti’s Instagram page: @vitiligo_and_me.