The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

Emelie Steglich, Germany

Hi! My name is Emelie and I am a 20 year old university student from Germany.
My birthmark (port-wine stain) is located on my left temple, so it’s very visible.

I want to focus on my journey on becoming a young woman that is proud of her birthmark. Growing up I never felt the need to cover up my port-wine stain. I only started thinking about covering it as more and more people drew attention to it. School was when I truly realized that I look different.

Questions like “Did you ever think of covering it up?” or “Would you remove it if you could?” and all the stares in public put doubts in my mind about my appearance I never had before as a child. It took a lot of time and work to now being able to say that I am proud to have my birthmark, I love who I am and I wouldn’t change a thing. But those comments from the outside world and especially being exposed to social media as an early teen sparked a lot of negative thoughts in me. However I eventually got over those doubts, I think it was a combination of embracing who I am. and starting to like that I was a little different. Don’t get me wrong, I do still get uncomfortable when I am out it public and notice people staring at me but I don’t let that affect me anymore. To me beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin, it’s about loving and accepting who you are. And I believe with the right mindset everyone can find the beauty in themselves.

That is why I want to spread awareness on this subject, so that young girls and boys who may hear the thinks I heard growing up won’t have to struggle with their self-image, because they know they are not alone. I want them to feel good about themselves and focus on things that are more important than worrying about their appearance. And whether or not you choose to cover up your birthmark, it’s about feeling comfortable in your skin and I wish that more people would.