Birthmark Vs Vitiligo

On Saturday evening, I shared a picture of my thighs on Twitter (@elsieisy). You may be wondering what’s so special about sharing a picture of my thigh and hell yeah, it is so special. Special because I have a beautiful birthmark on my thigh which makes my thigh unique and significant. *wink*

Before you begin to admire my pride and love for my birthmark, please note that I was not always pleased with my birthmark. I used to feel disfigured, no micro mini skirt for me, no short gowns nor bum shorts. I used to cover my laps with my handbag whenever my birthmark inevitably reared itself when I sit down. I had a friend who constantly told me she loved my birthmark. She encouraged me to wear short dresses and rock bum shorts. Her words helped me as I began wearing short dresses and shorts to the club. But then, it’s the club, at night, people hardly saw the color difference. So I kept battling with the thoughts of my legs being disfigured.

People who were opportune to see the mark usually asked if I suffered hot water burns. I had met people who screamed out of their imagination of how painful it must have been to bear such magnitude of hot water burns. I enjoy the look on their faces when I tell them I was born this way. The look of amazement on their faces helped me start appreciating my birthmark. Today, I think I owe my pride for my birthmark to the look on their faces.Elsie Godwin Birthmark - elsieisy blog

Last 2years, a former colleague at work saw my thigh and asked if I had vitiligo. Sincerely, prior to that question, I never knew or heard of the term – Vitiligo. So I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about and that I was born this way. He was really wowed and asked if he could see it in full. I told him he could if he is lucky enough to see me rocking a very short dress or bum short.

After the conversation, I did some research on Vitiligo and Birthmark which helped me shape my confidence. Though mine isn’t vitiligo, the width and breadth of my birthmark is easily mistaken for vitiligo and it helped me tap into what people suffering from Vitiligo maybe be going though, psychologically.

So when I shared my birthmark photo on twitter yesterday, I was already mentally stable and equipped for any type of tweet it will attract. However, I saw some tweet insinuating my birthmark must be vitiligo and I decided to make this post:

DefinitionVitiligo vs Birthmark - elsieisy blog

According to Wiki, Vitiligo is a long term skin condition characterized by patches of the skin pigment. The patches of skin affected become white and usually have sharp margins. The hair from the skin may also become white. Inside the mouth and nose may also be involved. Typically both sides of the body are affected. Often the patches begin on areas of skin that are exposed to the sun. It is more noticeable in people with dark skin. Vitiligo may result in psychological stress and those affected may be stigmatized.

While a birthmark is a congenital, benign irregularity on the skin which is present at birth or appears shortly after birth, usually in the first month. They can occur anywhere on the skin.


Birthmark usually appear at birth or few days after birth, not more than one month. While Vitiligo can strike at any time.

No one knows what causes many types of Birthmark but some runs in the family while Vitiligo is caused when the cells that gives your skin its colour are destroyed.

Birthmarks are not serious, some go away on their own while and not all birthmarks are treatable. Vitiligo requires treatments. Treatment varies for individuals.

Birthmarks are often well defined with serrated or smooth borders and present since early age. Vitiligo is an acquired disease and presents with hyopigmentation initially which then becomes depigmented.

Vitiligo patches are common in areas where the skin is exposed to the sun. While Birthmarks are not necessarily in exposed parts of the body.

Some facts about Birthmarks

  • Medical science is yet to discover why birthmarks are formed
  • There are various types of birthmark including café au lait spots and Mongolian spots
  • Congenital melanocytic nevus is a type of birthmark that affects around 1% of American newborns
  • Certain types of birthmark are caused by dilated capillaries
  • Some researchers believe proteins released by the placenta during pregnancy might play a role in developing birthmarks
  • Birthmarks are rarely a reason for concern and many fade with age
  • Not all birthmarks are treatable
  • In some cases, corticosteroids – injected or taken orally – can reduce some birthmarks.


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