Fairy Lashes & Vitiligo

by This is Carrie on March 28, 2011

Two summers ago Pumpkin was diagnosed with Vitiligo, a disorder that causes depigmentation on patches of skin (the same disorder made famous by Michael Jackson).  Over the past two years she has continued to lose freckles on her right cheek as well as the color in her right eyelashes as the patch has spread from right under her eye down to her lips.  When she first noticed her special white lashes, we told her they looked like beautiful fairy lashes.  She agreed for a while.  But just the other day, she expressed her dislike of those special, fairy lashes.  I reassured her that when she gets older, she can experience the magic of mascara.  Luckily, that seemed to calm her fears.

While there is no cure for the disorder, keeping her out of the sun keeps her skin light and the patches less noticeable.  There are treatments (creams, light treatments, etc) that have had some success in repigmentation, but we have yet to try them for fear it will give her more reason to be self conscious.  I don’t want her to think she needs to be “fixed.”  But, if the treatments worked, it could save her from some mild heartache as a teenager, so I constantly wonder if I’ve made the right decision.

We all want our children to be completely happy and healthy, but if I had to pick a childhood disorder or disease for my child, one that can be handled with some pricey sunscreen and maybe some early makeup lessons is one I’d choose any day.

P.S. If anyone has had experience with Vitiligo, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

1-5-2015 UPDATE

First of all, thank you to everyone who has left kind comments on this post. The mean the world to me and my daughter (who is now nine years old).  We were recently at the dermatologist (for another issue) and the doctor rechecked her vitiligo and also checked in with her on not only the physical toll of the disease but also the emotional toll it was taking.  She laid out the treatment options and my sweet daughter said “My vitiligo is like my red hair, my freckles and my glasses. It’s what makes me unique and I don’t want to change that.” The doctor smiled and I hoped she really meant what she said. After seeing photos of Chantelle

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

sarah July 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Leah,
I’m sorry to hear you are having a problem with this. Unfortunately I cannot give advice on how to have a positive outlook bc I guess I never looked at is a bad thing, it just is what it is. I’ve always had great self esteem as a large girl, then diagnosed with hashimotos, now this. Mine so far is quite mild and I’m very fortunate. I did notice 2 days ago a few lashes on my other eye turned white (overnight it happens) and I was like “cool my eyes will match”. I guess there are way worse things that I could have. I hope I keep this outlook and I wish you luck.

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Melissa July 18, 2013 at 5:40 am

Hi, I am 34 and also developed vitiligo a couple of years ago, on the right side of my face, (i have olive skin so quite noticable). It has spread down from my forehead to new spots developing on my cheek.
I also have white eyelashes!
And have just noticed a white strip in my hair – I have dark brown hair!
I have my eyelashes tinted that makes me feel ‘normal’ and boosts my self esteem. I tend to forget about the white patches on my face.
I’m happy to find someone that has experienced the fairy lashes like I have. I would be happy to send a photo if your daughter would like to see someone else like her, she is not alone, and neither am I! :)

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çağla tekeli July 19, 2013 at 3:54 am

I loved pumpkin’s pickles :)

I’ve realized just a few hours ago that my fairy lashes are totally gone, then i remembered this topic and want to share the story of how i lost them.

For the last two years I ve been going through some hard time psychologically and my 15 year-old-vitiligo spread over left side of my face, eye lashes and some parts of my body just in these two years (a big part of them spread in just a month)

When i realized that I have fairy lashes for the first time, i immediately took a mirror, sat down and told them nice things such as “i love you guys, i think you are beautiful, i accept your new style, I’m not gonna hide you by putting some chemicals on and i am not gonna try anything to change you.”

I was a “a-ha” moment for me, I came to the realization that i was always trying to suppress real me, my personality, my fears and such. At that moment, I decided to accept myself for who I am, with my differences, my faults and weakness. Then I dyed my hair back to its natural color (i was dying it since i was 18 and I didn’t have white hair) then started to fell like i am getting over depression.

Some time later, I lost my fairy eye lashes; i still have other spots on my body and face though (which i am ok with)

What i am saying is stress, depression, unhealthy unconscious thoughts or unresolved childhood issues make these somatic reactions worse, believe me. And these fairy eye lashes were literally magical for me :)

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çağla tekeli Reply:

“freckle” i mean :)

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Teri August 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm

My 15 year old daughter noticed about a month ago that her moles have a white circle around them and just recently noticed that she has some white eyelashes. We are wondering if these have any connection together. She thinks there cool and doesn’t bother her. I told her that we need to have all of it checked out, what or how do they do testing to find out if it is the Vitiligo and is it harmful? Thanks

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Melissa Reply:

I found out that it was Vilitigo from a Dermatologist, She used a special light and did a full check up. I also have moles like that and she removing them 1 by 1 slowly. I can live with my spots that i can over up but hate the ones that I cant cover like the ones on my hands and under my wrist. I know I will learn to live with them but its hard @ times. U really need to remember that the higher person above wont give us what we cant overcome and handle. :) Email me if u want to know more.

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Leah August 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Hi Chris-
I was diagnosed with Vitiligo 4 1/2 years ago. I first noticed it when I was 4 months pregnant. The derm said it was melasma at first but it has kept spreading and of course now they have diagnosed it as vitiligo. I have been mortified by the constant discoloration spreading on my hands, neck, feet! You said after your good cry :) you didn’t really think about it! How did you learn to accept it and move forward with life? I am constantly missing out on things due to embarrassment. I am pretty pale and people say it isn’t overly noticeable but it is still makes me so self conscious! Any advice would be appreciated!

Leah

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çağla tekeli August 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I think she should see a dermatologist because if moles look different from other moles of her body or If you notice changes in a mole’s size, color or border, this may mean something. So any change is the key factor. Examination is easy, methods may differ but probably doctor will observe moles in a special blue light and it is not harmful at all.
I have Vitiligo and some moles that might turn into skin cancer (doctor removed some of my risky moles and i often get others checked). Dont be afraid though, I guess white circles of her moles are just vitiligo but if they are not caused by vitiligo and if they seem to be harmful, doctor will remove them easily.
I suppose, connection between these moles and vitiligo might be the weakness of immune system or just the sensitivity of skin. As far as I know, exact cause of both vitiligo and skin abnormalities can’t be known.

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Melissa August 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I was diagnosed with Vitiligo back in Dec 2012, I have had the white spots all my life though. I 1st really noticed mine High School ( after my nail lady ) started to waxed my eye brows. I have developed it on my hands in webbing between my thumb and index finger. It has spread between the rest of my fingers (slightly) and I have patches mostly on my thighs and arms that can be covered up. I too have the white lashes and love them, I love showing them off. I just am now beginning to cope with my health issues. Please tell your daughter that she is not alone.

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Wilhelm Anhauser August 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm

You should tell your daughter that she’s hot. Because, she’s hot.

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BaSH PR0MPT
Twitter: bashpr0mpt
August 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm

PLEASE teach her how to put mascara (a non-bulking non-body increasing type) on those lashes in question. You cannot even fathom the sledging she will cop at school, the simple fact you’re calling them ‘special’ and named them ‘fairy lashes’ is indicative that your reality cheque bounced quite some time ago.

Give that girl mascara, NOW. The poor kid deserves a normal childhood and those things will have her as an outcast and single the rest of her life because kids are horrible monsters.

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Jen Reply:

This comment disgusted me.

I’m a 30 year old woman whose had vitiligo since I was a child. My eyebrow is half white. I can assure you, I jag a very happy childhood and did not get a “sledging”. I was not at all an outcast and I love my white patches.

Don’t bash someone else because of prejudices YOU have. That’s lame.

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Angel E. Cedillo Reply:

(not bashing) But i am a teen now, and you are 30. not to say you are wrong, because you most definitely not, but the years have changed and i was forced to grow up fast and witness the horrible actions kids today commit. No one believes me but i have absolutely no prejudices, but the number of sociopaths is also rising, and not too surprisingly, they are mostly teens and kids. Kids are getting more violent and are growing to have no empathy for anything or anyone. I’ve run into quite a few kids like that. Not saying her kid can do whatever she wants, but if she wants to wear mascara, she can. If she used to like her lashes, than the only problem is because she is already getting bullied. Kid or not she can already think for herself and make decisions … She needs to be allowed to be happy or she’ll grow up too fast as well. she will grow to love herself, but that’s if she is aloud to come upon it herself.

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Mila Ekon Reply:

First of all, why are you telling a child to put mascara on? Her eyelashes are unique and not the same as everyone’s.
Not every child in the universe is mean either. People could also think her eyelashes are cool and want to talk to her.
Lastly, people are mean to people these days for no reason. She shouldn’t have to cover up because annoying people tell her to.

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Gabrielle Reply:

I came here on a Google search since I had just noticed today that my daughter’s eye lashes are turning white. I was looking for answers to my questions and other moms that have gone through this with their kids. I see a beautiful girl with “fairy” lashes just like my daughter and I felt a sense of comfort knowing my daughter is not alone. Then I read your HATEFUL and IGNORANT comment. How dare you! We should embrace our differences and be okay with who we are and what we look like. And GROWN WOMEN should embrace a child with something unique and not put her OVER GROWN foot in her mouth. I hope to God, you do not have a child- because I would have great pity for it.

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Lea October 22, 2013 at 2:30 am

I deal with the same problem and my eyelashes only turned “white” when I was 21. I’m 24 now and however it bothered me at first and I don’t like applying make-up, I decided to embrace it… AND NOT ONCE EVER have I been made fun of. On the contrary, everyone who notices it emphasise how “cool” and “unique” it is. So, if she learns to deal with it, she will realise it is nothing to be ashamed of or be covered up.

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nitin Reply:

i am suffering from the same eye lash problem at the age of 3 till nw @ 27 age.
felt embarassed in school and classes bt then got adapt to the condition.
but my main worry is the girl whom i am dating from last six years had no problem but her family has. they are of my same caste but not willing to accept me with my white eye as what society will think and how can they give their daughter to some1 who has leukoderma..

I AM VERY CONFUSED HOW to convince them and marry their daughter..

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Betty Jo October 22, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Please have her do the light treatment. I have been doing them for about 1.5 years and went from a small dot of color to almost all my body colored again. I stopped for 3 months in the summer to avoid getting skin cancer per my doctor, but it continued to return at a slower rate. I actually had lost all the hair on my legs, arms and under my arms which is now growing back too. It could be worse for her, one of the parts of this auto immune disease is losing the hair on your head. That did not happen to me but the other parts of this 4 part disease I did get – vitiligo, my thyroid quit working completely and I became anemic because the body also kills the red blood cells like it kills the skin color cells. When I began the light treatment, the anemia stopped also. My eye lashes have fallen out but are coming back, the hair on my legs and arms has returned as well as under my arms. I was a prisoner without the light treatment. Whenever I went into the sun I would develop burn blisters no matter how much suntan lotion I had put on. One of the reasons that we stopped in the summer was to see if the color would stick. Not only did it stick, it continued slowly to come back on its own. I probably had vitiligo for 15 years with just some small areas that had no color but I thought it was scar tissue from being burnt. Then one winter it took off and in less than 3 months all the color was gone but the one small patch. Take care of it now before it gets worse and takes longer to return the color. I go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN for my treatment. It is done 3 days a week and begins at 3 seconds and increases 3 seconds each treatment. After 1 year I was up to 6 minutes. I do not regret a moment for my decision to treat and am no longer a prisoner in my home.

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Sara January 31, 2014 at 10:01 am

I developed vitiligo about a year ago, my mother had it as well as hashimotos. I am looking for a way to treat it or prevent it from spreading further as I already have it on my knees, ankles, hips, inner thighs, chest and face. I am looking for some kind of effective low cost treatment I can use at home. If you have any ideas please share I am open to anything. And fit your daughter, I think she will be fine staying out of the sun the discoloration is so mild on her face that she shouldn’t worry. I also have white eyelashes but they are easily covered with a little mascara and no one notices. Tell her not to worry and always tell her that it isn’t very noticeable because as long as it doesn’t bother her other will not have a negative reaction. Best of luck!

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James Reply:

Hii sara i am James! I m havng a suggestion for your vitiligo! I am also havng it that’s why i know the treatment vey well!! U can call me on +919766848260

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Simon February 10, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Why not to try Latisse? A single trial of use of BIMOTOPROST { Latisse} in treating vitiligo patients was submitted during the world congress of Dermatology, May 2011, by Dr Narang, from India. 10 patients with localized vitiligo applied bimatoprost 0.03% ophthalmic solution at a dose of 1 drop per 2 cm2 of affected skin twice daily for 4 months.Seven of 10 patients showed pronounced repigmentation beginning on average after 2 months of treatment. The face responds best , with much less response on other areas. Disease duration less than 6 months showed best response.
http://www.realself.com/question/latisse-darken-skin-colour-ii-suffer-from-vitaligo-hands

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Sandi February 19, 2014 at 10:22 am

I have the same thing and enjoy telling people that I’m like Rogue from Xmen… Maybe she will feel like a superhero if she takes that attitude. 😉

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Paige February 24, 2014 at 6:25 am

You are absolutely doing the right thing!! There is no need for her to wear mascara right now (those lashes are so beautiful). She is young and innocent and that should be nurtured. I think I know you would never do this, but don’t push the mascara, offer it as an option someday if she wants it. When she is in her 20s she will probably love those special lashes again! You are already setting her up to have good self esteem and the ability to deal with whatever may come her way so good job!!! There is nothing abnormal about her eyelashes. There is no normal. We are all unique.

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Sylvia March 13, 2014 at 11:51 am

You should look up Michael Dawson and treat vitiligo naturally

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vitiligo pictures April 4, 2014 at 10:28 am

Fairy lashes! Also known as vitiligo. Check out my page and know the best treatment for vitiligo http://www.vitiligotreatmentadvice.com

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Kerri May 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I was searching pictures of vitiligo after watching a video about it. Saw this one and literally audibly said, “aww cool!!” I think those eyelashes are awesome. Like, I thought it might have been a MAC makeup ad. Guarantee she will love them when shes in her twenties. My boyfriend has vitiligo, and I really like it. Its really unique and his. I think you should let her wear mascara when u would let her wear mascara otherwise, which i think is your plan. It might be hard not to give in if kids start to tease her ( which might not even happen ), but ultimately you are sending a strong message about how you feel about her just as she is, which will be really beneficial to her sense of self. Kids are going to tease and be teased a bit no matter what they look like. The kind if people u want around her are going to think her skin and eyelashes are cool or not even pay attention!

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NikNak May 26, 2014 at 2:49 am

My oldest is 24 and he has been dealing with this vitiligo for about a year now and it’s starting to spread more and more, his lashes are now starting to turn white and he is very self conscious about it and want to have a skin graph and laser treatment that can be cancer causeing, which this actually cause more harm than good. We are trying to encourage him to just embrace it. We have other family with vitiligo but it’s on parts of the body that’s usually only exposed in the summer, like their feet. My daughter has a friend who has had it on her face since she was a small child but she is now about 19-20 and we don’t even notice it, it’s not something that sticks out like a soar thumb because we are so use to it, I have a another family member with a huge strawberry patch on one entire side of his face, we don’t see that, it’s something that is unique, it doesn’t bother them and it’s not affecting their lives because they have embraced it, something I would love for my son to do.

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Will May 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Vitiligo or not, and white lashes or not, she’s an adorable kid. I’m pretty sure she will cope just fine. I think her lashes are cool, and plenty of others will as well.

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James July 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Call me on +919766848260

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lou November 12, 2014 at 11:40 am

she is beautiful just the way she is. Tell her to be proud that she is just a tiny bit different, because being the same as everyone else is boring. I am a licensed cosmetologist, she doesn’t need to worry about makeup at her age. It will only age her and make her look older. Makeup can do some harmful things to your body with constant usage.

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Dudley December 9, 2014 at 6:22 am

Hi May I suggest you look at the blood type diet which helps treatment of the MTHFR gene. kind regards.

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Thais Lombardi January 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm

I was just googling around when I found this post. It’s lovely!

I know what she feels like. I’ve had vitiligo for the past 26 years, since I was only 2. At first, it was like the Phantom’s – from ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ – mask. I underwent a few treatments for long years and it receded to only my right eyebrow and eyelashes.

When I was young like her, I was ashamed of it. I had long bangs to cover it. When I was 14, though, I grew bored of having to travel to do the treatment I was doing at that time and decided to accept it. When I was 20 I even decided to dye it, but then I saw it was foolish of me to do so. Why hide it?

Nowadays I get compliments all the time. I actually like it! It’s different and I can pull it off. 😉

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Thais Lombardi January 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm

I was just googling around when I found this post. It’s lovely!

I know what she feels like. I’ve had vitiligo for the past 26 years, since I was only 2. At first, it was like the Phantom’s – from ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ – mask. I underwent a few treatments for long years and it receded to only my right eyebrow and eyelashes.

When I was young like her, I was ashamed of it. I had long bangs to cover it. When I was 14, though, I grew bored of having to travel to do the treatment I was doing at that time and decided to accept it. When I was 20 I even decided to dye it, but then I saw it was foolish of me to do so. Why hide it?

Nowadays I get compliments all the time. I actually like it! It’s different and I think I can pull it off. An so can she! What a beautiful girl she is! I see this post is almost 5 years old; I wonder what she looks like now!

If she ever wants to, I can show her a picture of mine. And tell her not to worry. She looks fantastic!

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Thais Lombardi January 5, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Oh, and to make something clear: even though I was ashamed of it when I was young, I was never ever made fun of. Kids didn’t bother. They were simply curious, and once I explained it to them, that was it. Kids are not cruel; adults make them be.

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Steve February 24, 2015 at 9:28 pm

I’m 43 yeARs old and I had half my eye lashes turn white in my right eye when I was very young. It bothered me a great deal but I’ve learned to live with it. As you get older you become more confident. I don’t have any white patches on my skin, only white eye lashes. It’s a strange thing, but at the end of the day who really cares, it’s just something different.

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K Reply:

Did it stop at your half your eyelashes on one eye?

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Betty May 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm

i have an 11 year old Daughter who has vitiligo and is just now starting to have white lashes … She is in phototherapy now but I wish there was a cure for Our Children !!

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çağla May 26, 2015 at 9:08 am

iron deficiency seems to be common for both women and people with immune diseases. Since i have both hashimoto and vitiligo, my doc said it is normal to have low levels of iron. supplements work, i hope

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