Vitiligo Bride: “He Told me I’m Beautiful Without The Makeup”

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Just about any bride will tell you that the stress of her wedding day can be nerve wrecking. The bride has the worry about her dress, pictures, bridesmaids, cake, location and more. So if that wasn’t enough, bride-to-be Kandice Benford suddenly had a whole new problem to worry about — her vitiligo — which got much worse seemingly overnight.

Benford was already focused on wedding planning and taking care of her sick fiancé (that’s a job in itself!), and she thinks the stress caused the biggest case of vitiligo she’s ever had.

“I just wanted everything to be perfect!” Benford, 32, tells PEOPLE of her big day.

She first developed vitiligo at age 18, in college, but it was just a small spot on her hand that quickly went away. This time she was “really freaked out” to see it all over her face.

This isn’t the first time that a bride has had a breakout all over her face before or on her wedding day. If you remember, singer Solange Knowles had a breakout of hives on her wedding day!

“I was worried about how other people would see me,” Benford, a hairstylist in Terry, Mississippi, says. “People would stop and stare at me, and kids always ask, ‘What’s that on her face?’”

Vitiligo is a disease in which the pigment cells of the skin, melanocytes, are destroyed in certain areas. Symptoms and signs of vitiligo include loss of skin color in the form of depigmented, or white, patches of skin in any location on the body.

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Vitiligo can be focal and localized to one area, or it may affect several different areas on the body. The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, although most experts believe that it is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys certain cells within the body.

Most people who have vitiligo will develop the condition prior to age 40; about half develop it before age 20.

After discovering her outbreak, Benson’s first instinct was to cover it up, “but my husband told me I’m beautiful without all the makeup,” Benford says.

And when their wedding day came around, she decided to just wear…