Beauty Project #1

finding and embracing beauty

For this blog, I  want to inspire beauty among everyone, especially among those with skin conditions. From previous experience, I’ve found a simple way to make myself feel more beautiful when I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. Before I introduce this project, I’d like to make it clear that this is just something that works for me, and it may not work for everyone. Additionally, I am not endorsing nor opposing covering up my skin condition with makeup; it’s merely become a mode of expression for me, which will differ from person to person. 

In middle school, I always refused to wear makeup. 

There were a few reasons I didn’t want to partake in this prevalent and seemingly social-class deeming activity. I had recently lost my mother to brain cancer, and I felt as if I had no one to guide me through the dos and don’ts of makeup. I was simply surrounded by boys – my dad, brother, and even dog – and I always sought validation through them, not any women. However, I also didn’t want to seem insecure of my skin, or cover up any parts of me. I was not ashamed of who I was, and I’m glad to have maintained that mentality until recently. 

It all changed one Christmas morning, when I was staring at one of my stocking stuffers – eyeliner. I was curious if it was as hard to apply as it looked. I had seen several of my friends attempt a huge wing on their eyelids, failing miserably. Perhaps my background with painting classes would pay off in this scenario. 

Disclaimer: it did not help. 

I also received foundation and concealer. Within ten minutes, my whole face was pancaked with brown power and setting spray. I looked in the mirror, and I was somewhat shocked at the result. 

I still looked like me. But I didn’t FEEL like me. I felt pretty and polished, yet plastic and fake. A majority of my white skin was covered, although the foundation was not strong nor dark enough to completely hide the de-pigmentation. After playing around for a few minutes and letting the adrenaline wear off, I ran to the sink, grabbed my make-up remover wipes, and scrubbed off the makeup so hard that my skin turned red, shiny with tears. 

While this process was painful, I’m really glad I tried makeup. I learned that even when I may not feel prideful or society’s standard of “beauty”, I am still me. Every spot on my hand has become the manifestation of my vibrant experiences, relationships, and perspective. I’m not against makeup, and I won’t deny the great warm joy I feel when I paint a perfect wing or my lashes look long and full. However, I have no desire to ever wear makeup strong enough to cover my white skin in public, unless it’s for my pure happiness or curiosity. 

I would recommend that everyone has a makeover day. Take a before picture and an after picture.  Take note of how you look in both pictures, but more notably, how you feel. Comment your reactions down below. The importance here is not strictly appearance or appeasing others; rather, it’s improving our emotional knowledge and awareness of ourselves, so we know how we best function and feel as ourselves. 


At-Home Treatments

home experiments

Throughout my entire life, I’ve personally made friends with four people with vitiligo. Four may not seem like very many to the average person; but to me, even seeing one other person with vitiligo sends a jolt of excitement and surprise through my stomach. It’s amazing that although vitiligo impacts around 1% of the population (upwards of 75 million people), I’ve been fortunate enough to meet others that have undergone similar experiences to me. Each time I’m surprised because as humans, we so often compartmentalize ourselves and see how we’re different from one another. Meeting these individuals allowed me to see similarities, and bond with people who struggle with the same condition I do. Another benefit of meeting others with vitiligo, was that we were able to exchange coping mechanisms and different strategies for treatments. My dad and I learned about two distinct treatments that had shown improvement for these peers – eyelash solution and gluten-free dieting. 

In the third grade, one of my classmates had small white patches on her feet. She had used a solution that people use to lengthen their eyelashes on her spots and seen improvement. I was initially very confused how an eyelash treatment would produce dark pigmentation on the skin; nonetheless, my dad researched the brand and surprisingly found that other people had also found improvements in their vitiligo with this cosmetic treatment. So, he mass ordered boxes of the eyelash solution from India. To apply it, I would take the eyelash brush and rub it on the spots around my eyes and lips. We started with spots on the face, as the skin is more sensitive and vulnerable to change, and gradually started applying to my hands and feet. We did not do this under supervision of a doctor. There were no negative outcomes from this experiment, nor improvements. 

Our second home experiment was going gluten-free. My dad’s colleague had gone on this diet for medical reasons, and happily discovered that after going gluten-free for three months, ALL of her vitiligo went away. When I first learned about this, I was ecstatic. Immediately, I cut out all things wheat from my diet, and bought a surplus of gluten-free pastas, rice snacks, and extra vegetables to see if this diet would work for me. I was very strict about the diet for over two months, and I even lost a few pounds. Overall, I felt better and more energized too. My vitiligo remained stagnant. As I’m writing this blog, I am gluten-free again. There has been no marked improvement from the gluten-free diet in regards to my vitiligo yet, but hopefully with time, there will be. It’s become a good lifestyle, and I’ve found proper substitutes for breads and pastas and such. 

Unfortunately, these little projects, such as the eyelash solution and the diet have not produced any improvement for me as they have others. This just goes to show that all bodies work differently, and what may worm for someone else may not work for you. Naturally, it can be upsetting and hard to stay motivated at times – but it’s important to keep working hard and try all these little treatments and experiments. You never know when something COULD work, and you’ll never know if you never try.

Treatment #5 — Bellevue Lightbox

a new discovery

While we did see minimal progress with the bagchi oil treatment, traveling between the US and India for long periods of time was hardly feasible. Thus, we sought out to create a light/UV apparatus at home to replace the bright India sun. My grandpa and dad located a rusted, over-sized light bulb with intense radiation, which must’ve been from no earlier than the 1950s. Despite it’s bent metal covering and wobbly handles, the bulb was immensely powerful and bright – to me, it seemed brighter and hotter than the Indian sun! Every night, I would hold the bulb inches from my white skin (rubbed with bagchi oil) for up to ten minutes. It was a time-consuming and sometimes painful process, as my skin often brimmed the edge of boiling and blistering.

Luckily, in 7th grade, my dad had contacted a new specialist at Bellevue Dermatology. We met with the dermatologist, who introduced us to the lightbox. This colossal machine was the size of a shower stall, lined with 32 ceiling-height light bulbs along the perimeter. The machine had a large door, which swung open to reveal a small stool inside. The doctor explained that the patient would stand inside the lightbox, with all the bulbs turned on and hot, for increasing increments of time. This treatment had very similar objectives as the bagchi oil in the sunlight, but it was just industrialized and used lotion in lieu of bagchi oil. Thus, my dad picked me up every Tuesday and Thursday after school and took me to Bellevue Dermatology to use their lightbox. I distinctly remember the dichotomy of emotions I felt just before climbing into the machine for the first time – excited with hope, yet wobbly with pangs of nervousness jolting through my stomach. The lightbox was daunting in figure and it sometimes took me ten minutes just to step inside. Though I’d consistently place on the leader board for balance beam in gymnastics meets, I could never stand still on the big stool in the lightbox, and feared the day when I would fall over and burn myself on the scorching hot light bulbs. I also had to wear swimming goggles with a special UV ray protective covering so that I could open my eyes inside the machine without going blind. Not that I ever would open my eyes – I’d scrunch them closed so tight as if to avoid losing balance. Sometimes I’d start crying and whining for the nurses to pause the lightbox so I could take a breather.

The process wasn’t traumatic forever, though. After numerous sessions, I got used to standing still in the machine for up to five minutes; nonetheless, I’d still make my mom or dad stand outside the little peep window so I would stay calm. As I habituated the process, I even turned it into a game. I’d try and guess how much time I had left, as they had a little timer on the outside which only my mom and the doctors could see. They would always announce when I had ten seconds left, and I’d enthusiastically count down and scream once the timer beeped, celebrating as if it was New Years. We also started applying the bagchi oil to my spots instead of lotion to see if that would expedite the results. With each appointment, we would see the white skin on my knees and my lips transforming into a bright red color, just teasing the line between red and burning, which was the goal. 

After some months of sessions, my dad eventually decided to buy our own lightbox for the house. Each session at the doctor was very expensive, and since we were likely going to utilize the lightbox long term (I even still use it today, five years later… but more on that later), he decided buying the machine would make more sense. Thus, we had our own giant lightbox in the media room – a “great” conversation starter for when friends came over. It would soon be in use every other day, for up to 30 minutes. To pass the time, I usually put on Jessie or Austin & Ally and have my dad sit on the couch while I stood in the light box for the entire episode. Eventually, my dad didn’t have to sit there anymore, and I could proudly conduct the whole process independently. Granted, I went through phases of lying and pretending to do the treatment even when I didn’t. Naturally, it got exhausting. I was tired. I got burned. I even had to wear a thick ski mask to avoid burning my brown cheeks, but still get light rays to the white skin on my eyes and mouth. Despite this painful, long process, I always managed to pull myself back together.  It makes me proud to see how I’ve grown with this treatment and learned how to overcome fear and mental blocks.


Overall, we did see some progress. As my red and sometimes burnt skin returned to normal texture and color, of course, with the use of bottles upon bottles of Aloe Vera and Burn Gel, often little brown dots would appear across my white skin, especially visible on my knees and armpits. Overall, the biggest benefit from light therapy treatment was the stagnancy created in my skin; while the white patches of skin did not shrink, they did not grow significantly larger or spread to other limbs. I continue to use this machine occasionally today, as we still try out different combinations of treatments and ointments with the intense UV lights. This machine was also encouraged by my future Doctors at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, which will be discussed in my next blog!

Feel Good Music

music for coping

Music has become to one of the most common and effective coping mechanisms for teens and adults. I’ve always loved listening to songs which I can relate to because it gives me a sense of community and reassures me that I’m not alone in my struggles and experiences. I’ve compiled an eclectic list of some artists and songs which I listen to when I’m feeling self-conscious and a little insecure on those rainy days. I detailed some of my favorites below, and my whole feel better playlist is on Spotify, @kareena883


the bones – maren morris + hozier

I really fell in love with song recently as I was rediscovering Hozier. Morris’ lyrics constantly reminded me that “the house don’t fall when the bones are good”. I related this phrase to vitiligo on both a physical level – which reminded me that I am not at a physical or fatal risk with my skin condition, as the rest of my body and my bones are healthy – and also on a metaphorical level – which reminded me that I have so many other solid aspects in my life including loving friends and hobbies which gives me strength to cope with my vitiligo. The singer also has a beautiful voice and the upbeat music is super encouraging and refreshing. 



Invisible things – lauv

Lauv has been one of my favorite artists for a while, as he sings and advocates for mental health and problems that many teens and young adults face today. In this song, he underscores how the materialistic culture in America is not what will truly contribute to our well being and happiness; but rather, he emphasizes “invisible” things, or intangible things such as love. It really taught me to value my experiences and build my personality rather than focus on my appearance.

idontwannabeyouanymore – billie eilish

Like Lauv, Billie Eilish also sings about problems that many teens face today, such as physical and mental insecurities. This song initially drew my attention with the soothing piano in the beginning and amazing harmonies, but the true meaning of the song goes even deeper than I thought. Perhaps the most stunning section of the song is:

If teardrops could be bottled
There’d be swimming pools filled by models
Told a tight dress is what makes you a whore

She shows the reader that even models face the same insecurities that we do, even though we perceive them as flawless and beautiful. It regularizes insecurities and shows girls that we all want to say “idontwannabeyouanymore” to ourselves in the mirror sometimes. This song almost validated my own feelings and gave me a sense of relief that others felt the same way.


liability – tove styrke 

I really liked this take on Liability, originally by Lorde. The message touches upon being ignored and cut off my friends, and I felt I could relate to it because it’s easy to feel “not pretty” or “not good enough” compared to your friends. The feeling or being a hindrance based on looks is very common in high school, and is something all girls face.


ordinary – umi

This cheery melody emphasizes the importance of a simple love for yourself and others, rather than materialistic goods and changing your personality to match what society accepts as beautiful. It really allowed me to accept both the good things in my life, as well as what I perceived as “bad”. I really just loved the overall message of living a simple life and accepting your beautiful and authentic self. 



broken and beautiful – kelly clarkson

This playful song always seems to bring a smile to my face. Clarkson shamelessly admits that though we all flaws, they are apart of what make us unique and beautiful. This song reminds me that facing our hardships and having different experiences build our personalities and make us stronger. She also touches upon the importance of being understood and accepted by others, because people tend to judge us on our experiences, rather than how they shaped us as a person – which is arguably more important.


beautiful – christina aguilera

This relaxing and peaceful song constantly reminds me to love myself, no matter other people’s opinions. She repeats:

You are beautiful
In every single way
Yes words can’t bring you down
Oh no
So don’t you bring me down today

Her ideas of seeing oneself in a constant positive regards really encouraged and motivated me to see my inner beauty and feel beautiful, no matter my skin. 


rise up – andra day

I absolutely feel in love with Day’s voice the second I heard it. In her song, she completely addresses how it is exhausting to fight adversity in our lives, no matter who we are nor where we’re from. We all face hardship. But she motivated me to keep fighting whatever comes in my way. Her repetition of “I’ll rise up in spite of the ache” inspires me to work hard, both in continuing my vitiligo treatments, and also other stressors in my life such as homework and studying. She also reminds us that “all we need is hope // And for that we have each other”.


thank you!

I hope you found some great new music:) Feel free to follow my playlist and Spotify for more recommendations!


The Makeup Controversy

unreasonable expectations

In today’s society, women face unreasonable expectations to prioritize their physical appearance rather than their mental health and personality. No matter their age, girls often cover their blemishes and “imperfections” with makeup in order to fit in and gain a sort of societal acceptance. Granted, this “cosmetic camouflage,” as some have come to brand it, can raise one’s confidence and self-esteem, making them more comfortable in their body.

While the rest of my friends happily patted on their foundation and glued on all sorts of eyelashes to get ready for parties and big events, I always remained hesitant to hop onto this bandwagon. I thought that if I put on makeup, then I would have to cover my vitiligo – thus conveying that my skin disease was bad and that I was covering it up because it was something I wasn’t proud of – which isn’t true. 

After entering high school, I got some makeup for Christmas and my temptation grew. I started playing around with different foundations and concealers to cover my white skin to see what I would look like without vitiligo. I was really interested to see the transformation, as I never really considered how different I would look – or if I would look different at all. I covered the white on my eyelids with a dark brown eye shadow, used a concealer over my forehead and chin, and some lip gloss to darken my lips. Surprisingly, I saw someone in the mirror who I recognized. Honestly, she didn’t look all that different to the visible eye. But there was this little sting in my stomach, and it didn’t feel right. This wasn’t me. 

I’m not someone who covers her vitiligo, and I don’t want to hide it. My white skin has become a part of me, and frankly, I can’t imagine myself without it. On the other hand, countless other individuals choose to cover their vitiligo daily – and I completely understand why. Vitiligo is a disease of the skin, but its harshest barriers are presented mentally; it feels like all your insecurities and vulnerabilities are on display for everyone to see, and it’s all they see. I want to acknowledge a few individuals for their vitiligo cases and how they used makeup in different ways to demonstrate the sheer power – both good and bad – of vitiligo.

A rather infamous case of this disease is Michael Jackson. Jackson’s vitiligo appeared and grew throughout his career, and a few professionals have claimed that it may have originated on his hands. In addition to being a talented performer, he was also talented at concealing his white skin, despite being immensely stressed and frustrated with the depigmentation. Eventually, instead of using dark makeup to cover his white skin, Jackson began wearing all white makeup. Some doctors have claimed that he used Benoquin, an FDA-approved “treatment” for vitiligo. However, this cream drains the rest of the pigmentation from his skin, rather than restoring it, thus explaining his transformation to all white skin. Michael Jackson’s story with vitiligo, while not a typical one, is a very extreme case of the psychological influence of this disease and the temptation to conceal the “flaws”. Being such a prominent star, it makes sense that Jackson was so stressed and determined to cover his vitiligo – because he didn’t know how his audience and his fans were going to react. He was probably scared, and some even suggest that vitiligo was an agent that led him to drug use. 

While Michael Jackson’s experience with vitiligo is rather disheartening, I’m glad to say that there has been more public advocacy concerning skin-disease recently. Fortunately, there are models with vitiligo who have published their own personal stories and battles, such as Winnie Harlow. My family first spotted Harlow, a model with vitiligo, on a Desigual advertisement in Europe; ever since, I’ve been following her on Instagram and observing what she has done for the vitiligo community. Harlow has has vitilgo since she was 4. She competed on America’s Next Top Model and became a prominent advocate for skin disorders on popular media. Winnie poses proudly with her white skin, and has shown that vitiligo doesn’t have to hold anyone back from achieving their dreams. She acknowledges the challenge and the difficulty of overcoming the mental and societal barriers, but doesn’t say it’s impossible. I admire Winnie because she’s expanded her platform and reached diverse demographics of women, successfully sharing her story and encouraging others to do so. She’s also become close with Kim Kardashian over shared struggles with autoimmune conditions and together, these two women have been working on a KKW x Winnie makeup collection. While Winnie embraces the creativity and freedom of makeup, she also embraces her vitiligo and never really covers it up. I also really admire Logina Salah, a makeup artist with vitiligo. She has a rather flexible opinion, as she supports both covering and uncovering white skin. She believes everyone should feel comfortable with their skin and hide these “imperfections” and feel beautiful, but we shouldn’t let them get in and “destroy your inner peace.” Wearing makeup is an option; and no one should ever feel like they HAVE to wear makeup to be included and match our societal norms. I agree with Salah because ultimately, our goal is to feel comfortable and confident in our skin, and however we get there is valid. We all have different modes of coping, but the end goal is the same. You can wear as much or as little makeup as you want, and whether someone covers or displays their white patches, it makes no difference. Let’s share our beauty and encourage each other, because skin diseases should never rule our lives; instead, we’ll rule them.



Hope: a Blessing or a Curse?

a quick definition

Hope /hōp/

Noun – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

My own definition: the most powerful, yet wicked motivation.

People have different perspectives on hope; some see it in a positive light and use it as comfort and coping mechanism, while others panic and impulsively eliminate their high expectations with a fear of failure. Like many other concepts in the world, it’s hard to categorize hope as merely “black or white”. Speaking from experience with both extremes, both strategies have helped me, and equally destroyed me.

I’ve worked with many different doctors – from different parts of the world, with different resources and ideas, from different demographics, with varying experience. With all these different variables, one thing remains stagnant – they all present with a tingle of hope and encouragement for their patients, that they will get cured under certain treatments and get most, if not all, pigmentation back. Unlike most kids, I looked forward to going to the doctor, because it meant new possible treatments – a reason to keep fighting. Entering each doctor’s office meant they would tell me that there was another breakthrough with steroids or topical creams or sometimes a new oral medicine – something that would make any diseased kid jump out of their seat with excitement. A chance for the pain and exhaustion to be over, meaning they could return to a normal, average childhood.

But nothing is quite that easy, is it? We got a recommendation from a family member that going gluten-free made her white spots go away for as long as she stayed on the. So without question, we stopped buying bread, switched to vegetable pasta, cut any unneeded gluten out of my meals for upwards of three months. Nothing happened. During my excimer laser treatments, I spent plenty of my time talking to nurses about progress in other patients, who would see little brown dots forming on their skin every few weeks and were still making progress. Fortunately, I saw a few dots too, but nothing substantial in comparison to the other patients. This pattern continued with lightbox treatments and our other prevention methods. I had habituated this behavior so much, that when the Indian government approved its first official vitiligo cure, I laughed. My hope had destroyed me, as my standards were so low for new medication that I could hardly address it as the “cure” it was branded as. Honestly, I barely even followed my medicine schedule until my dad got stricter about it.

The point I’m trying to make is, treatments work differently for everybody. Different bodies react to different treatments, and while there have been great breakthroughs for this condition, there is no official cure. Hope is a good thing to have, because it is a motivation tactic and personally, it gave me willpower to stay on schedule with my medications and treatments. However, excessive hope can lead to a sense of helplessness and one might feel as if they have no control over their cures and should just give up. My hopes got so high that I got sucked into a vicious cycle of pessimism and lost sight of the beauty in this condition. Neither of these extremes are the answer.

Balance is key.


Treatment #4 — Bagchi Oil from Hyderbad

oil and the sun.

With direction from friends and family, my parents found another doctor in Hyderabad, just an hour drive from my grandparent’s home in India. A few weeks later, my mom and I flew to India to stay with my grandparents for a week. My grandpa scheduled an appointment at the clinic and hired a driver to take us there. Despite our eagerness to meet the doctor, we ended up leaving late and we drove against the freeway traffic to arrive at the clinic on time! After the nauseating journey, I happily stepped out of the little gray car and searched for a sign for the clinic. After exploring the block for a few moments, we finally saw a vitiligo patient step out of a rusting gated fence from across the street. We found it!

We walked over the fence and peered around, following through into a brown door. The clinic was small, with low ceilings and dark lighting. It was scorching hot and bright outside, so I was more than happy to wait in the dim room. We were greeted into the doctor’s office by a tall, grimming doctor. He began to discuss a topical oil, made from bagchi. Handing me a small container of a smelly, yellow liquid, he explained that we would apply to the white skin and sit in the sun for 45 minutes. He also gave us a less-concentrated version of the oil to apply at home everyday and sit in the sun. The hopes of this treatment was to target the sunlight to certain parts of skin to regenerate pigmentation. Essentially, the strategy was to mildly burn the skin. This was the first – and certainly not the last- approach we had taken that targeted the pigment from external sources, rather than manipulating the internal chemicals and fluids within the body. My mom gave rupees to the nurse sitting outside to pay for the clinic visit and bagchi oil, and then we applied the oil, crossed the street to visit the gurdwara next door and sat there for 45 minutes. This was one of the most aggravating parts of the treatment for me, because I would get so flustered and hot sitting on the ground in temperatures around 100 degrees. To pass time, we would walk around the road and buy snacks and stickers at the nearby markets.

My mom and I flew back and forth to India several times a year so that we could continue the treatment with strong sunlight as opposed to the muggy rain in Seattle. At the time, I was only in elementary school, so missing school for the doctor visits was not such a big deal. The journey was exhausting, time-consuming, and expensive, but we saw some sort of progress as my skin turned bright pink with the sun treatment. I was super optimistic and cheerful to see some sort of material difference in my skin, even if it was just turning various shades of dark pink.

However, in hindsight, there was nothing substantial in the progress. After a few years, we came across a local Bellevue dermatologist who also practiced UV-light therapy, which we actually coupled with the bagchi oil. I’ll discuss the Bellevue treatment in my next blog!



Understanding Beauty in “Disease”


stigma in society

Generally when you hear the word “disease”, you worry. People associate this term with illness, sickness, infections – the list is endless. So when I initially heard that vitiligo was a “disease”, I was confused. I thought to myself, it’s not a fatal condition, it doesn’t change my everyday life – how could I have something that sounded so… scary? I had never seen vitiligo as a big problem, and it never especially bothered me. That is, until I began comparing myself to other people.

As girls enter high school, there’s a certain expectation that in order to fit in, you must have the “perfect” skinny body, wear brand name clothes, and abide to all the cultural stereotypes and traditions. Naturally, with all these standards engraved in my mind, vitiligo became another barrier in my way to both social and self-acceptance. Every morning, I would trudge to the mirror at 6:30 am, and stare at my vitiligo for what seemed like hours. I would close my eyes and silently pray, even beg, for it to go away, so I could be “normal”. I wanted to be all brown, or sometimes, I wished the white pigment would spread all over my body, and just blanket me completely. Then, I could wear makeup without using extra brown foundation to cover the white patches. However, this battle wasn’t merely a cosmetic problem in regards to how others saw me, but more importantly, how it changed my own self-perception and identity.

I wake up with burns and blisters, rashes, and swelling from the treatments, and I just barely have the motivation to pull over a sweatshirt and race to school. Sure, vitiligo isn’t fatal or threatening, but it has the capability to destroy one’s self-esteem and wreck one’s authentic-self and inner beauty. I would browse through pictures from middle school and feel confident with the shape of my body and stylish clothes. Yet my eyes were always drawn back to the oddly-shaped white patches on my knees, ruining my perception of a picture that should’ve brought back a feeling of nostalgia and happy memories. Even now, I still see group pictures with all my beautiful and confident friends and feel as if my skin ruined the photograph. I even used to  hide in the back of pictures so that no one would see my skin and I wouldn’t feel guilty for “ruining” the picture and the memory. 



I wish I could just tell everyone how to deal with the stress and frustration that comes with vitiligo. However, we all know that everyone comes in different ways. Recently, I’ve opened up to my friends about my insecurities towards my white spots. These friendships have been the most effective way to release my stress and have improved how I deal with my stress and frustration. My friends constantly encourage me to keep fighting, and being surrounded by optimism has changed my outlook on vitiligo and prompts me to make the best out of my situation. They see me at my low points, cracking under stress and fatigue, and remind me that I am not defined by my skin. They remind me that my skin doesn’t ruin any of the pictures or memories; instead, they say my bubbly energy and positive personality makes them infinitely better. But alas, the key to overcoming the insecurities doesn’t lay in the opinions of one’s friends or family, no matter how supporting they are. We all see insecurities in our bodies because we are comparing ourselves to what we BELIEVE is perfection. We get blinded by social obligations. And no matter how beautiful you are to others, you may still feel ugly. I consider vitiligo a disease not of physical and visual matters, but of having the mental strength to persevere through society’s expectations and become comfortable in your perfect imperfections. It’s important to feel good and loved in your own skin and feel healthy. Therefore, I’ve tried to become more appreciative of my body and take care of it. Sometimes I put on a face mask, take a long hot shower, and take some “me-time” to remind myself that though on paper, I do have a disease, I am strong and can overcome anything that this condition throws at me. Exercise also improves my mood substantially, although I’ve struggled to come up with a consistent work-out routine… it’s a work in progress. It’s important to realize that the most important beauty is not tangible, like one’s fashion or make-up choices, but rather the sense and feeling that you are beautiful, and you are just as worthy as everyone else.

Remember: stop fighting your skin. instead, fight FOR your skin. 


Treatment #3 – Homeopathy from Faridabad


Haryana, india

While I don’t remember too much from my childhood treatments, I do remember enjoying sugar pellets that were prescribed from my homeopathic doctor in Faridabad, Haryana, India. I loved eating those little pellets, and at this point, it was the only medicine I had taken which tasted good – given, I was a little elementary schooler with a sugar obsession.



Homeopathy is a medical system based on debunking the symptoms of diseased people and giving them natural cures to expedite the healing process.

I talked to the Chief Doctor at Fortis Escorts, a renowned brand of medicine practitioners in India. Through a series of counseling sessions, the doctor engaged me in deep and personal conversations, addressing my mental, physical, genetic and emotional health. He began to understand all aspects of my lifestyle, from learning what activities I enjoyed in my free time, to wondering if I had supportive and understanding friends, to guessing what my favorite food was. I almost felt as if I was being interrogated as the doctor traced my symptoms down to their core. After numerous sessions, he prescribed the bottle of little sugar pellets which I proceeded to eat for six more months. 

I distinctly remember the pellets coming in two different bottles – one with a green lid and the other with a light pink lid. Though they tasted the exact same to me, they were crafted with varying natural substances, so I had to take pellets from each bottle daily. This doctor was acclaimed and had copious success stories from previous patients by using this same methodology and game plan. Nonetheless, there was no material impact from the homeopathic medicine for me, and we still aren’t sure what made my case so different from everyone else’s. It just goes to show how different this disease impacts everyone differently through a biological lens, so no single treatment is guaranteed to work for everyone.


Treatment #2 — Herbal Cures from India

UNani medicine

After failing to track down a successful treatment locally, my mom reached out to Indian doctors to learn about other possible strategies and medicines. After validating the success of a government hospital in Telangana, India, my dad flew to the city of Hyderabad to meet with a team that practices Unani treatments. Unani medicine is based on the teachings of the Greek physicians such as Hippocrates, who believe that the natural elements in the human body needs to be re-balanced in order to cure chronic and immunological disorders.


The New hospital

We flew over 7,000 miles to India, a trip I would soon become very familiar with.


The head doctor of the newfound hospital prescribed both ointment and oral medication for daily application to restore my “elemental health.” After a few months with administration under the hospital, the doctor directed us towards his private clinic, where he gave us more medication, at an increasingly steeper price. After a few months, my dad noticed the medical bills growing from a few hundred rupees to upwards of a few thousand rupees. The doctor was commercially inclined and cared more about cash flow than curing his patients.

Twelve months into the treatment, and there was no improvement in my skin. My dad immediately stopped working with this doctor and we disposed the prescribed pills and cream. It’s unfortunate that we must deal with these types of corrupt and selfish businessmen, when all we want is a simple cure. Though I was too young at the time to understand what was happening, these types of issues are really exhausting and a huge waste of time, money, and resources.

It’s important to choose the right doctors and treatment plans for you, and to use reliable sources to make the best educated decision.