Living Pretty With Vitiligo My blog - May 2017 – My blog
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May 2017

    Personal Experience

    SKIN MATTERS 2017 – MINIMISE THE IMPACT OF YOUR SKIN CONDITION

    Last weekend, I attended the Skin Matters conference in London……the first of its kind.

    Bringing together leading industry professionals, that included Dermatologists, Clinical Psychologists and panel experts, the aim was to raise awareness and further inform those living with a skin condition. The carefully planned agenda caused for an interactive day that benefited an audience that were mostly living with various skin conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis and Rosacea.

    I was fortunate to be asked (by the conference founder, Lotte Benson) to take part in the ‘The Lived Experience’ which included myself (as someone with Vitiligo), alongside three lovely ladies who live day to day with those skin conditions as mentioned above. I got to meet the girls before the session at the end of the day, so by the time it came for us to speak to the audience, the energy (and nervous levels!) were pretty high! It was so positive and uplifting sharing the stage with 3 other courageous women who confidently spoke about their experiences and how they’ve learnt to accept themselves and live confidently with their skin. I definitely took something away from hearing them speak!

    Whenever im asked to speak, I always feel like I’m learning more about my own story as well as bettering my presentation and speaking skills, and whilst the whole experience can be pretty nerve racking (those nerves sometimes kicking in from the night before – eek!), its always a great feeling walking off the stage knowing I got through and survived!

    The conference was well received and is definitely needed as a way to bring professionals and those with the conditions together, because after all…our skin most definitely matters.

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    Personal Experience

    Phoenix Magazine: The Skin We’re In: Meet the Changing Faces Ambassadors Redefining Beauty

    The phrase ‘redefining beauty’ is a term so widely used that it should probably have a page created on Wikipedia by now! A term used across all media platforms globally; it expands and challenges the idea that beauty comes in many forms as opposed to the images we often see plastered in magazines.

    Since giving myself the freedom to speak about my skin, a number of opportunities with magazines have come my way, allowing me to speak about my journey as a girl with Vitiligo.

    My most recent interview was with Phoenix magazine, a luxury fashion and lifestyle magazine based in London and distributed internationally.

    The interview, carried out by the editor; Hannah Gale, was similar to what I’d done before; visually highlighting my skin whilst documenting my experiences with Vitiligo.

    The interview came about as a result of my role as a volunteer ambassador for Changing Faces. The final feature ‘The Skin We’re In: Meet the Changing Faces Ambassadors redefining Beauty’, included a stunning collection of photos in both colour and black and white and featured myself and two other inspirational women (also ambassadors), was published in perfect time, just ahead of Face Equality Day on Friday May 26th.

    Sometimes when I’m reading back over an interview I’ve given, I read it as though it’s someone else’s story. Bizarrely, It really enables me to appreciate and develop a closer connection with the person I am, as I read it and suddenly think ‘that’s me’….

    The full feature is available at https://www.phoenixmag.co.uk/article/the-skin-were-in-meet-the-changing-faces-ambassadors-redefining-beauty/

    Phoenix will feature the interview in the print version of the magazine later this year.

    Photo: Josh Van Gelder at www.theoldschoolstudio.co.uk

     

     

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    Personal Experience

    Sun Awareness Week 2017

    We all know just how important it is to stay protected in the sun, especially for us with Vitiligo. Since developing Vitiligo, my Mum has stressed the importance of using sun cream with the highest SPF. As kids, whenever we used to travel, both in the UK and aboard, Mum would smother my skin in sun cream before getting me dressed every day. She would always use factor 50 which, even though made me feel as though I was melting in the sun, always prevented me from burning or causing damage to my skin.

    As I got older and became aware that the ‘sun kissed look’ was preferred by the girls in magazines, I started to avoid sun cream altogether. I’d watch as friends applied factor 5 whilst on our summer holidays and convinced myself that just a little sun wouldn’t do any harm. When I realised that Vitiligo prone skin didn’t quite tan in the same way, I quickly learnt my lesson and reached for the sunblock instantly.

    Living in the UK, I’ve always brushed off the idea that the little sun we get will cause any damage, however I soon learnt that even the seven the lowest rays of sun can still have harmful and long lasting effects, even when hiding behind the clouds. Now, I always ensure that my makeup and moisturisers always contain SPF.

    So, what does the sun mean to us with Vitiligo?

    Due to the lack of melanin in our skin, our patches are more vulnerable to sunburn because we have no protection against the sun. ‘Normal’ skin is protected by melanin (skin pigment) whereas for us, our patches mean we have no natural protection against the sun meaning we burn alot quicker.

    To stay well protected, it is vital you use a sunscreen; as this protects us from the ultraviolet lights that comes from the suns rays. There are two types of rays; UVA (long rays) and UVB (medium length rays). To keep our skin well protected, an SPF of 30 or higher is necessary, especially during the hotter months.

    What does Sun Awareness Week mean?

    Sun Awareness week begins on May 8th and was introduced by the British Association of Dermatology (BAD) after a survey revealed that eight out of ten people are failing to apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. A shocking statistic considering the dangers around exposing the skin in the sub. Sun Awareness Week is about increasing awareness around protecting your skin, making sure it is applied properly and reminder that sunscreen should be applied every 2 hours for maximum protection.

    For more information click here:

    http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/sun-awareness-campaign/sun-awareness-week

     

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