The secret I wasn't going to tell you

beauty secrets, gluten-free diet, modern beauty secrets, mother-daughter duo, vitiligo -

The secret I wasn't going to tell you

"Finally," I announced aloud. 

This cafe was advertising vegetarian and gluten-free...I was thrilled! This Camino de Santiago walk had been very tough to find vegetables and gluten-free food. I kinda of expected the latter.

Entering into the cafe, I felt a sigh of relief run through my entire body. This cafe was different. The lady at the counter took my order my gluten-free, dairy-free order without question.

A few minutes later an Italian man in his mid-70s walked up with my gluten-free vegan snack and shake. The first thing I noticed was he was wearing very, very short white shorts. So short I averted my eyes because at first glance I thought he was in tighty whiteys. 

He was friendly and warm, and it seemed he was volunteering as part of his gift to the Camino. 

Still, why would he wear such short shorts? I finally settled on thinking he was probably feeling hot and didn't really care what others thought. 

Then, I noticed something else white. His skin had two tones. A darker and a pale tone and it was noticeable all over his body. He had Vitiligo and he wasn't ashamed to show it. 

I remember the first time I heard Michael Jackson had it. So many people were skeptical of him bleaching his skin. He had Vitiligo and decided instead of covering it up to bleach his skin. 

Was it true? 

Many people didn't believe him. After all, he'd changed his appearance already so much. 

Still, knowing a celebrity also felt ashamed somehow made me feel a little better. Vitiligo began to take over my skin in junior high, during puberty. I'd had a light spot when I was younger, but when I reached puberty, it was completely across my left eye, with additional spots on the right side of my chin, a spot where the third eye would be, a semi-circle peeking over my hairline. I looked like a Dalmatian. I felt ashamed and horrified. 

It's hard enough being comfortable in your own skin as an awkward teenager. This added fuel to the fire for kids. I was embarrassed. I turned to makeup for help. 

In the beginning, I wore heavy, gaudy foundation and eyeshadow to mask the dramatic difference in shades. It was the beginning of self-tanning lotions. They were a little "orangey", but they helped. Still, what was available then can't even touch what's available now. 

One day, I accidentally burned my spot on my chin with my curling iron and to my (painful) delight, the spot temporarily went away! 

I told this to my dermatologist and he suggested we do an experimental procedure called dermabrasion. Basically sandpapering your face, like the micro-dermabrasion of today but with a coarser abrasive tool. This worked for the chin and forehead areas, but the area around the eye couldn't be touched. This, I was told, I'd have to cover up for life with makeup and self-tanners.

I'd always loved dressing up in costumes and makeup as a kid, but suddenly this makeup thing became ever more important now. I became very good at makeup that I even went so far as to do it professionally, doing hair and makeup for theaters around the country. 

Every 5-10 years I would be curious to see if a new procedure had become available and I would check with a new dermatologist. Everything was too sensitive for around the eye. I was told since I'd had it for so long, it was never going to go away and that I'd just have to learn to live with it.

Then, something strange happened. Something the dermatologist told me would never happen. 

My Vitiligo started to go away. 

Over the years tanning lotion got better, so it became easier to wear more natural makeup. Then about 6 years ago, I went gluten-free for other health reasons and I started noticing the Vitiligo that the dermatologists diagnosed was there for life, was slowly disappearing. 

Throughout the next year after turning gluten-free I found myself using less and less tanning lotion until one day I stopped all together.

To my surprise going gluten-free had reversed my Vitiligo! 

Although I believe in an ideal world we should all be confident in our own skin like the 70 year old Italian man, sometimes it's easier said than done. Makeup helped me feel more confident. This is what we want 42 Dubonnet to do for women. To accentuate the beauty that is in every one of us and help us to be confident even on the days where we find ourselves feeling like an awkward teenager again.