“Why should I hide who I am? It’s exhausting.”
Tiffany Posteraro, 24, struggled with a rare skin condition for her entire life—but she’s done hiding her true self from the world.
It all began when she was only 7 years old, when she noticed small white spots starting to sprout on her knees. Soon it spread—she found the spots on her wrists, and then her kneecaps were covered in the mysterious patches.
Posteraro explained how frustrating the process was. “I showed my parents but we just thought they must be scars or something. […] We had no idea what it was. A dermatologist gave me some ointment but it did nothing.”
The real breakthrough occurred not after a doctor’s official diagnosis, but when she was 11 years old, running errands with her mother. A man pulled her aside at a grocery store and explained to her that she had vitiligo, a skin condition in which causes the loss of skin pigment.
Posteraro was glad to learn what the real problem was, but soon things took a turn for the worst. As the condition accelerated and the patches on her body started to grow larger, she had to endure bullying and mean comments.
She said, “People stared and made nasty comments.” Strangers went so far as to call her “cow,” “Dalmatian,” and “burn victim.”
Soon, Posteraro had to learn how to put on heavy-duty makeup just to cover up her skin in order to avoid attention. “I tried everything possible to cover it up. I got really dark spray tans and used industrial-strength foundation, the kind used to cover deep scars.”
It was only after meeting a fellow vitiligo sufferer that Posteraro finally decided to stop hiding. She thought, “Why should I hide who I am? It’s exhausting.” Empowered with a new bout of confidence, Tiffany decided to get her condition “emblazoned” on her forever—she got a tattoo with the words “It’s called Vitiligo” on her forearm.
Posteraro admitted the tattoo was totally “liberating”—people love her new tattoo, and they find they know want to learn more about the condition.
Posteraro is working hard to remove the stigma associated with the skin condition, and we hope she succeeds. You go, girl!