Updated 14 May 2018

Woman afraid to go outside after vitiligo causes her to lose 90% of skin pigment

'I basically have to alienate myself from the outside world.'

A mom is afraid to leave the house due to her insecurities about vitiligo, which caused her to lose 90% of her skin pigment.

Lasharus Leggett (42) from Dallas, Texas in the USA has always feared the stares from strangers after her disease caused discolouration on nearly every part of her body over the past nine years.

Excess makeup

The mother-of-four hides away at home as much as possible, avoids introducing herself to her sons’ friends and teachers and covers herself in makeup whenever she goes out.

One of her favourite hobbies is going for walks with her husband Gregory Capers (57), something they do several times a week.

While doing laps at the local park, she always gets nervous when seeing other people who might notice the condition.

She even goes as far as wearing clothes that hide her arms and legs, even during the summer months.

While covering up and applying excess makeup makes it less obvious, the loss of pigment on her hands is always visible.

Long stares from strangers

Lasharus, a medical coordinator, says it holds her back from living her life to the full.

“I basically have to alienate myself from the outside world. I don’t want my sons’ friends asking them, ‘What’s wrong with your mom?’

“When I’m walking with my husband, I worry that other walkers are going to stop and stare.

“As soon as I go outside, I tell myself someone’s probably going to look at me."

She usually doesn’t wear shorts or skirts because she doesn’t want people to see her skin.

“It’s much easier to wear warmer clothes and not have to explain myself to people.”

One particular thing that bothers her is the long stares from strangers in public.

She believes most people are just curious about why her skin is discoloured, but wonders why no one has ever asked her a question about it.

“I don’t have a problem with people looking. It’s the long stares that make me uncomfortable. They just look.”

Making the best of the situation

While it is difficult for her to go out in public, Lasharus has come a long way in the past nine years.

She’s made a lot of progress with accepting her condition and no longer becomes depressed about her appearance.

 “I just realized I can’t do anything about it and have to just make the best of my situation.

“When you start losing your pigment, you get depressed and your self-esteem really goes down. I’ve grown a lot in the past nine years, but I still have my moments.”

The online Vitiligo community has also helped her to better accept the skin condition.

Since joining support groups on the web, the mom has been able to talk to women who experience the same everyday struggles as her and give her words of encouragement.

“Joining those groups has really boosted my confidence and made me feel better about my skin.

“It’s really nice to have other women to talk to who tell me I’m beautiful. It makes me feel stronger.”

Image credit: Magazine Features