Vitiligo is a skin condition which Michael Jackson was famously diagnosed with, which prompted rumours and allegations of skin bleaching which he denied.
Like renowned model Winnie Harlow, 30-year-old Ebonne Clark from Michigan, said a common misconception is that ‘people with vitiligo must be sad or hate their skin which is simply not true’, saying her ‘vitiligo has given [her] a great deal of confidence’.
Vitiligo is a long-term condition where pale white patches develop on the skin, caused by the lack of melanin, a pigment in the skin.
Speaking to UNILAD, Ebonne spoke about how her vitiligo developed:
I wasn’t born with my vitiligo, it happened after a bad break up.
I was really depressed and stressing over the breakup and noticed three small white spots on my right cheek.
I remember calling my mom freaking out and she said it’s just your summer tan leaving and before I knew it it spread to my forehead and my entire right side of my face almost like freckles except white.
After her condition began to develop, Ebonne initially felt pressure to cover it with make-up:
At that point I tried to hide it with make-up for months, but I wasn’t consistent with it and eventually just decided make-up wasn’t for me.
For her graduation, Ebonne again felt the need to turn to cosmetic products and had her make-up done by a professional. It was this moment that affirmed her decision to ditch concealer.
Explaining her graduation experience, Ebonne said:
The last time I wore make-up was for my graduation from graduate school, in which the make-up artist didn’t listen. I asked just for eye make-up and she ended up doing full face.
I went home in tears and told my mom I wasn’t going to graduation because I looked like a clown, that was three years ago.
Ebonne’s best friend recently got married and Ebonne felt pressure to make her day ‘perfect’ by wearing a full face of make-up. The wedding took place in early June this year.
With doubts about make-up after her graduation, Ebonne was quick to make sure the make-up artist had previous experience in covering vitiligo and wasn’t going to make her face look ‘cakey and orange’.
Talking about her relationship with make-up, Ebonne said:
It’s my preference to not cover it, mainly because I don’t like how make-up feels. When my face is covered it feels odd like there’s something on my face.
Whenever I do wear make-up, it’s mostly mascara and lip gloss. I don’t really wear lip stick because my vitiligo is also around my lip line and I’m not that great at lining my lips
Ebonne’s message to anyone with the condition who is lacking confidence is:
I would tell them to embrace their uniqueness even on the tough days when you may ask why and your confidence may waver, embrace it, feel it, and then remember that you are beautiful spots and all.
According the the British Skin Foundation, vitiligo affects around 1 per cent of the world’s population and it can be caused by stressful events or skin damage.