A woman with a blotchy skin disease finds the courage to go makeup-free after 30 years of 'wearing a mask'

A woman with a heart-shaped vitiligo patch on her face has decided to go without makeup after 30 years of "wearing a mask."

Denise Chamberlain was 10 when she first discovered a white spot on her finger, the first sign of the condition causing her skin to lose pigment. Over the years, vitiligo patches spread to her hands and appeared on areas including her scalp, gums, arms, feet and legs.

Denise Chamberlain, a woman with a heart-shaped vitiligo patch on her face has told how she finally found the courage to go makeup-free after 30 YEARS of "wearing a mask". See SWNS story NYVITILIGO; Denise Chamberlain, 42, was ten when a white spot appeared on her finger after the suspected autoimmune disease caused that area of her skin to lose pigment.Over the years that followed, vitiligo patches spread to her hands and appeared on areas including her scalp, gums, arms, feet and legs. Now the majority of her body is covered with white splotches, including her face which is adorned with a large marking in the shape of a heart. Mom-of-three Denise's striking appearance has resulted in strangers stopping her in the street to pay her compliments. But for three decades - from the ages of around ten to 40 - she masked her face and hands with a "blanket" of foundation and concealer in a bid to hide her vitiligo. She refused to leave the house bare-faced for fear of being stared at and was driven to the depths of depression, even considering suicide, because she hated her looks. Denise estimates she spent around an hour a day applying makeup and splashed around $400 a month on it over the 30 years - potentially as much as $144,000 in total. She finally decided to ditch her makeup around two years ago after washing it off to encourage a young girl with the condition to embrace herself. Since going au natural she feels "happy and free" - and even started dating construction worker Robert McCoy, 35, eight months ago, who thinks she is "beautiful.

'Now I've ditched my makeup I feel like a completely new person,' Chamberlain told SWNS.  ( © SWNS.com)

5-YEAR-OLD GIRL DEVELOPS BLOTCHY SKIN DISEASE ALL OVER HER BODY TRIGGERED BY MENINGITIS

Now the majority of her body is covered with white blotches.

Her face has the largest marking and it has the shape of a heart. The 42-year-old told SWNS, "As a child, I remember I was at our community pool complex and I got up on the diving board and the guy behind me was like, 'What is wrong with your feet?'"

Denise Chamberlain before she decided to go make up free to hide a heart-shaped vitiligo patch on her face has told how she finally found the courage to go makeup-free after 30 YEARS of "wearing a mask". See SWNS story NYVITILIGO; Denise Chamberlain, 42, was ten when a white spot appeared on her finger after the suspected autoimmune disease caused that area of her skin to lose pigment.Over the years that followed, vitiligo patches spread to her hands and appeared on areas including her scalp, gums, arms, feet and legs. Now the majority of her body is covered with white splotches, including her face which is adorned with a large marking in the shape of a heart. Mom-of-three Denise's striking appearance has resulted in strangers stopping her in the street to pay her compliments. But for three decades - from the ages of around ten to 40 - she masked her face and hands with a "blanket" of foundation and concealer in a bid to hide her vitiligo. She refused to leave the house bare-faced for fear of being stared at and was driven to the depths of depression, even considering suicide, because she hated her looks. Denise estimates she spent around an hour a day applying makeup and splashed around $400 a month on it over the 30 years - potentially as much as $144,000 in total. She finally decided to ditch her makeup around two years ago after washing it off to encourage a young girl with the condition to embrace herself. Since going au natural she feels "happy and free" - and even started dating construction worker Robert McCoy, 35, eight months ago, who thinks she is "beautiful.

Denise used to mask her face and hands with a "blanket" of foundation and concealer to hide her vitiligo.  (SWNS)

"I just dived off, it made me cry," Denise added. "From that point on ‒ from the age of 11 ‒ I didn't go swimming.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, vitiligo occurs when pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) die or stop producing melanin — the pigment that gives your skin, hair and eyes color. There are some treatments that may restore color to the affected skin, but it does not prevent continued loss of skin color or a recurrence.

Between the ages of 10 and 40, Denise masked her face and hands with a "blanket" of foundation and concealer to hide her vitiligo.

"I wore it every single day and I learnt how to perfect it so people who looked at me wouldn't even know I had it on,” she told SWNS. "I didn't want people to ask me questions and I didn't want the stares.”

PROMISING TREATMENT FOR VITILIGO SKIN CONDITION

At one point, the Indiana woman was so fearful of leaving the house without her makeup she became depressed, even considering suicide, because she hated her looks.  

"It made me into a person who didn't want to be noticed. That mask was everything for me,” she said.

It all changed one day while attending a support group for vitiligo patients. "In our support group a little girl was having issues and it was really affecting her,” Denise explained. She said she was inspired to take action.  

"I went and washed my makeup off. I was already at the door knocking because I wanted to come out, but that girl pushed me out of the door.”

Ever since then, she has gone makeup-free.