An USA Indiana woman with vitiligo has finally gained the courage to go make-up free after 30 years of “wearing a mask.”
Denise Chamberlain, 42, was 10 years old when white spots first appeared on her finger as the suspected autoimmune disease caused her skin to lose pigment.
Over the years, vitiligo patches appeared all over her body, including a large patch on her face.
At 10, Chamberlain began applying dark foundation to match her skin color and cover the white splotches on her face. She never left the house without it, despite the fact that it took an hour to put on each day.
Since she was a child, she questioned why it happened to her.
“I wore it every single day and I learned how to perfect it so people who looked at me wouldn’t even know I had it on,” Chamberlain said. “I didn’t want people to ask me questions and I didn’t want the stares.”
Her self-conscious mindset increased after the white spots began multiplying rapidly over the last five years.
She tried to go to Walmart makeup-free once and had a panic attack because she felt everyone was staring.
“I [was] really nervous about taking my makeup off and am like, ‘Oh my gosh. Look how fast my white part is speeding up. What am I gonna do?'” Chamberlain told InsideEdition.com.
Although she was still struggling, Chamberlain became president of a vitiligo group through women she met online. That connection brought about a life-changing moment for her two years ago.
They wanted Chamberlain to speak, on FaceTime, to a young girl who had been struggling with her vitiligo.
“I said, ‘Hold on guys,’ and I went to the bathroom and I washed all my makeup off my face,” Chamberlain said. “I came back and I got on camera and everyone was like “Woah, Denise, you took your makeup off!'”
“For that little girl, I had to take it off for her,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain knew what it was like to struggle with her condition as a child.
“It made me into a person who didn’t want to be noticed,” she said. “That mask was everything for me. Vitiligo clenched me for so long and didn’t let me prosper.”
That day she had an epiphany and hasn’t worn makeup since. She said it has been the happiest two years of her life because she is free to be herself.
“I feel like God has given me a second chance at life,” Chamberlain said.