When Natalie Jones first found a few vitiligo spots on her body in her early twenties, she didn’t think much of it–until stress, sleep deprivation and skin trauma from an ointment sparked rapid loss of pigment, resulting in the loss of more than 60% of her skin’s pigment. And her confidence.
The physical transformation caused by the loss of pigment only further fueled the mental and emotional turmoil Natalie was experiencing.
“I felt like I had no control over what was happening to my body,” said Natalie, who watched her energy and confidence levels plummet. “My self-esteem took a nosedive and while I was good at putting on a brave face, I felt like an imposter.”
Natalie knew something had to change. So she started looking for answers–hitting books, attending seminars and conferences and seeking the advice of experts. The topics ranged from nutrition and autoimmunity to genetics and mindset. Through her research, she found two notable figures that sparked her journey to healing both her body and her mind.
The first was Professor Karin Schallreuter, a German dermatologist who had a well established practice specializing in helping patients with vitiligo. The treatment involved UV light treatment paired with a cream she created based on years of research.
“I was very fortunate to have met Professor Schallreuter,” said Natalie, who was treated by the dermatologist for five years until she retired last year. “She is an inspiring woman and I’ll always be grateful to her.”
The second was renowned author Brene Brown, an expert on shame, authenticity and belonging. Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection,” which focuses on embracing who you are and letting go of who you think you ‘should be,’ changed the way Natalie thought about her skin.
“I was caught up in the unhealthy pattern of thinking that I could only be happy when my skin was ‘perfect’ again,” said Natalie, who felt like she was in a ‘prison,’ unable to move forward while living with vitiligo. “Brown’s books planted seeds for a new healthier perspective about my skin.”
Together, these experiences inspired Natalie to launch her blog, Every Body Beautiful, with the intention of sharing her story and helping others who might be experiencing body or skin shame. Today, Natalie uses the blog to share positive perspectives about skin empowerment in addition to some of her own tips for wellbeing based on her years of research.
Today, Natalie is still on a journey to heal her vitiligo–but she doesn’t let it hold her back from living her life.
“I no longer feel ashamed of my vitiligo,” said Natalie, who feels an immense amount of freedom with her new mental mindset. “The real goal is no longer perfect skin–it’s to feel happy in my skin right now.”
Today, Natalie believes that we all have a choice to make about how we show up in life–and that the same applies to your skin. And she offers her community an invitation: “If you’re reading this and this resonates – if you’re stuck in that place of thinking you need to “fix” your skin to be happy again, I invite you to consider a different perspective.”