According to the old adage, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Although the perception of beauty is a very subjective thing, that can be hard to remember when you’re constantly bombarded with images of how you are supposed to look. Your body should be slim; hair full and shiny; and your skin should be flawless and without marks or blemishes. But we aren’t all perfect, and there are many people across the Internet sharing their stories to counteract the daily messages that remind us of what beauty should look like.
One of these women is 23-year-old Lexxie Harford from Staffordshire, England. Harford has heterochromia iridum, a condition that causes her eyes to be two different colors. This condition, which can also affect hair and skin, is also the cause of a large port-wine stain vascular birthmark on the right side of her face. Tired of covering up her imperfections, she uploaded a series of makeup free selfies on Imgur, an image sharing website. They’ve since gone viral, garnering her a lot of attention for her bravery in sharing her makeup-free birthmark with the world.
Harford says her intention was to start a conversation about the imperfections that make her who she is. In an interview with ABC News she says, “I always wanted to show a birthmark with an open line of communication, where people could ask lots of questions.” She has since answered many questions about her birthmark, but she’s also been praised and heralded as a Joan of Arc type figure for the #nomakeup movement.
According to Seattle dermatologist, Paula Zook, MD, birthmarks such as Harford’s don’t always need to be concealed or corrected. “Port-wine stains are fairly common, and although laser is a safe and very effective option for people who prefer it for their own personal reasons, I really encourage young people to celebrate who they are, and their birthmarks are part of that,” says Dr. Zook.
While some might choose to have a cosmetic procedure to permanently remove or conceal their birthmark, Harford has chosen to embrace hers. “I know some people have laser surgery and I don’t think that’s wrong at all. You have to do what makes you feel comfortable and I feel comfortable like this, that’s all,” she says. By sharing her story, Harford is inspiring others to accept their imperfections and feel confident and beautiful in their own skin.
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