Student embraces her full-body birthmarks after years of bullying11/17/2021
A student whose body is covered in distinctive birthmarks and tumour-like growths has finally embraced her unique appearance.
After experiencing years of bullying and painful laser treatment to rid her body of the marks, Freya Wicks, 19, is taking back control.
Freya was born with a rare condition that has covered her body in congenital melanocytic nevi (CMN), which are pigmented benign, tumour-like, malformations.
The birthmarks form because of a genetic mutation that causes too many melanocytes (melanin producing cells) to be produced while in the womb.
Growing up, she faced bullying for her appearance, with cruel people calling her facial birthmarks ‘spots’.
The condition affects only one in 50,000 people and Freya tried to lighten the marks through ‘painful’ laser treatment since the age of four. She hoped the treatment would lessen the dark colour of the marks, but they always returned just as strong.
After years of covering them with makeup and long sleeve clothes, the psychology student now embraces and shows off her markings on social media.
Freya is hoping to speak for people with rare skin conditions and encourage them to love themselves.
‘I started to notice kids not being very nice about it when I was about six or seven and I still get nasty comments every now and then,’ said Freya, from London.
‘They usually say “look at her spots” or “what is that on your face”.
‘It affected me quite a lot growing up and even now it makes me feel upset, but it says more about them that they are reflecting negative energy onto other people.
‘I would try to cover them up with makeup and long sleeve clothes because I got to the point where I thought I can’t go out like this.
‘I had laser treatment to lighten them to try and fit it more because certain comments drove me to that – I was self-conscious so I wanted to get rid of them.’
After eight years of laser treatment, Freya stopped – and she hasn’t looked back.
‘I had laser surgery where they basically burn the birthmarks to try and make them lighter,’ Freya explained.
‘Usually with my condition they suggest doing skin grafts but I didn’t have enough skin without birthmarks on my body so the only treatment I was offered was laser.
‘I had it as a cosmetic approach and also because my skin condition can cause skin cancer, melanoma, if my birthmarks are always in the sunlight. That worries me quite a lot as well.
‘There were scabs and the healing process was quite difficult – it required bandages over the wounds and then when you took the bandages off, the wound would peel off.
‘I gave it up because it was too painful and it wasn’t really working. The pigment kept coming back and now a lot of areas have scar tissue.’
Since learning to love her birthmarks, Freya now has a blossoming confidence and refuses to let trolls put her down.
On her social media she openly speaks about her birthmarks online in the hopes of raising awareness of rare skin conditions.
‘I embrace it a lot more now and like telling my story so that other people that have it or have something similar don’t feel alone like I did,’ she says.
‘I would never try to remove them now. It’s what makes me unique.
‘You should embrace the skin you’re in and don’t let negative comments define you. As long as you’re confident things can only get better.’
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