This woman has embraced her skin disease and is calling herself a “human Oreo” after being made fun of by kids.
Sharekia Winston, from Virginia, US, started developing white patches around her eyebrows back in 2006 after her daughter Deniyla was born.
A few weeks later, the 31-year-old also developed blotches on her face, arms and legs, which was when she decided to see a specialist.
The dermatologist diagnosed, Sharekia, who is a nurse, with vitiligo – a disease that causes the loss of skin colour in blotches, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“I didn’t really think much of it, at first assuming that, like any other skin irritation, it would go away,” Sharekia says.
“I was given some hydrocortisone cream, containing steroids, but it didn’t seem to do any good.”
According to the Daily Mail, the mom-of-three was bombarded with questions by neighbourhood children who wanted to know if her condition was contagious, which left her feeling insecure.
“I became really ashamed of how I looked and started piling make-up on, covering my face and body in foundation to hide the patches.
“I’d apply a full face of make-up for work – heavy eyeshadow, foundation, bronzer, and blusher.
“I must have looked like I was going out partying, rather than going to work as a doctor’s nurse,” Sharekia says.
Soon after the birth of her children, Braelyn and Anthony, the disease continued to spread, a telling sign that it was triggered by her changing hormones.
Not letting it get the better of her, she began embracing her blotches and understood that the marks were there to stay.
Sharekia started sharing hilarious snaps of herself with the hashtags #oreo #cow and #moo.
“To deal with the vitiligo, I started to joke about myself online.
“I’d say I accepted it, adding things like, ‘I have vitiligo and if you don’t like it . . . don’t look!’ and ‘if you don’t know what vitiligo is, think of a cow or an Oreo biscuit!’ ” she says.
Hoping to inspire others to love themselves, Sharekia now bravely opens up about her condition and has decided to scrap her excessive use of make-up.
“I realised it wasn’t going to go away anytime soon and I needed to love myself for being me.”
“I’m beautiful and the patches are part of me now, so I’ve had to deal with that.
“I’m so happy with myself now. I have ditched the make-up and feel confident in my own skin.”