By Mollie Mansfield
A vitiligo sufferer who initially confused her condition for ‘bad tan lines’ has had a tattoo explaining her disease to stop people staring.
Whilst on holiday with her parents, Dionne Lees, 23, noticed pigment-free patches appear around her eyes – but assumed it was due to wearing sunglasses when sunbathing.
As more white patches appeared, Dionne received her diagnosis of vitiligo at just 12 – and immediately started to work on ways to accept her condition.
After years of having the public quiz her about her unusual patches and treat her like a ‘monster’, Dionne, a bank worker, decided enough was enough and got a tattoo explaining her condition on her knee.
The red tattoo, which states ‘It’s called Vitiligo’, is positioned on her right knee and is now used as a referral point for strangers who stare and question her.
Dionne, from Livingston, Scotland, said: “I was thinking about getting this tattoo for quite a long time now, so I’m super happy that I’ve finally got it.
“Life is just too short to not do and get things that made you happy – red is also one of my favourite colours.
“It’s kind of a symbol of full acceptance, I still very much get quite a few stares and instead of my having to explain what these white patches are I just decided to get ‘It’s called Vitiligo’.
“Vitiligo will be with me forever and so will this tattoo so it does mean so much to me.
“I always say even if there was a cure I definitely wouldn’t want treatment.”
When deciding where to get the tattoo, Dionne decided to get it somewhere that is visible when she’s wearing a bikini and also is in area where her vitiligo is most poignant.
She said: “I wanted it somewhere a bit different and also where you can see my vitiligo.
“So my largest area of where my vitiligo is, is on my legs and when I’m sitting down or even standing the tattoo is positioned well so that you can see it.
“It’s also in a great place that I can point to the tattoo when people stare or ask me what is wrong with me.
“I’m sure I’ll get more tattoos in the future which can help me explain my condition, but I don’t want to cover any of my patches up in the process!”