Woman With Patchy Skin Condition Branded ‘Dalmation’ And ‘Ghost Face’ Gets Tattoo On Her Arm To Explain Why She Looks Different
WHAT IS VITILIGO?
Vitiligo is a long-term condition that stimulates pale, white patches to develop on the skin owing to the lack of a chemical called melanin.
Melanin, which is produced by specialised skin cells known as melanocytes, gives the skin its colour and safeguards it from the sun.
It’s not clear what causes this lack of melanin, but it has been associated with problems with the immune system and nerve endings in the skin.
Vitiligo can impact different areas of the skin, but most commonly occurs on skin exposed to the sun, like the face, neck and hands.
The condition is unique for each person.
For years, Tiffany Posteraro wore many layers of clothing and thick make-up to conceal her skin. Tiffany suffers from vitiligo, a condition characterized by white patches developing all over the body, owing to a lack of melanin – the pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their colour – in those areas.
She said: ‘I wanted to share with people what it is because that way they would learn something, rather than stigmatising.
‘I decided to get the tattoo for that reason – to answer the questions in their heads and give them something to actually stare at.’
‘Now people are like, “I love your tattoo”. They ask questions about the condition and go away enlightened.
‘They know I didn’t get burnt in a fire. They know there’s a term for what I have.’
Miss Posteraro, who grew up in Florida, first noticed small white spots on her knees when she was seven.
‘I showed my parents but we just thought they must be scars or something,’ she said.
‘Over time I got a few on my wrists and then it spread around my whole kneecaps.
‘We had no idea what it was. A dermatologist gave me some ointment but it did nothing.’
Then, when she turned 11, she was out shopping with her mom when a man pulled her aside and said ‘You have vitiligo.’
She continued: ‘Now I had a name for it but I still didn’t know much about it.
‘My parents didn’t make a big deal about it. To them I was just Tiffany.
‘It was comforting in a sense but I wish I could have known more about it.
‘When people stared and made nasty comments, I had no comeback because I didn’t understand my condition.’