When Leisa Harrison was 10, she found a white patch on her legs. As the years progressed, the white patches began to spread, going across her arms, legs, back, torso and hands. She soon discovered she had vitiligo.
From the likes of Winnie Harlow, Michael Jackson and Aussie actress Pia Miranda, awareness surrounding vitiligo has started to increase. But over the years, Leisa has experienced awfully intrusive questions and comments from strangers:
'What happened to you?'
'Why do you look like that?'
'What disease do you have?'
Leisa says to Mamamia: "Having open conversations is super important. But there is a right and a wrong way to go about the topic of vitiligo and any other skin condition."
So with this in mind, we unpack five things you should never say to someone with vitiligo.
Watch: What does kindness mean for you? Post continues below.
First and foremost, what is vitiligo?
Vitiligo affects up to 2 per cent of the world's population, including 300,000 Aussies.
But what is it exactly?
It's a skin condition in which the cells that make pigment (melanocytes) in our skin are destroyed. There's no physical pain or discomfort: just defined white patches that spread across various parts of the body.
As dermatologist Dr Phillip Artemi, Founder and Director of the Vitiligo Centre Australia explained to Mamamia, "Some 50 per cent of patients present before the age of 20, and 80 per cent before 30. But symptoms generally first appear in childhood."