A bride-to-be was left in tears after a skin condition triggered by the stress of her big day caused her skin to change COLOR.
Stunning Kandice Benford, 32, developed vitiligo and was horrified to see white patches spread over her body as the big day approached.
She thinks the condition – where patches of skin lose their pigment – was triggered by the anxiety of juggling the wedding preparations.
At first she desperately tried to cover the spots makeup but eventually she plucked up the courage to go barefaced thanks to support from her partner Elliott Benford.
Kandice, a hairstylist, wore minimal makeup when she tied the knot to Elliott, 30, on November 5 last year and she says she had a “perfect day”.
Now as the couple celebrate their first anniversary, Kandice is more confident than ever and hopes to inspire other women with vitiligo to embrace their bodies.
The brave bride, of Terry, Mississippi, said: “I was really down about it at first.
“You see yourself every day for 30 years and then one morning you wake up and you look different.
“The white spots spread over my face, hands and legs and I found it very difficult. I tried to cover it up with makeup.
“It was even more difficult with people around me who didn’t know what it was and would ask questions or stare.
“Kids would say, ‘Mommy, was is that all over her face?’ or people would ask, ‘Is it a burn?’
“I was freaking out but everybody has been very supportive. My husband said, ‘You’re beautiful with or without it.’
“I gave myself a pep talk and moved on. I had to embrace it. My body is my body.
“I ended up feeling great on my wedding day.
“I can honestly say having vitiligo has made me more confident in myself.”
Kandice first noticed white spots on her hands when she was at college in her late teens.
“I had a spot here and there and I had heard about vitiligo so I knew what it was but I didn’t really care about it at the time,” she said.
It was only when she hit 30 in 2015 – less than a year before she was due to tie the knot to Elliott – that the disease spread rapidly.
Kandice’s husband-to-be was also sick at the time and she was juggling work and wedding planning while worrying about his health.
Vitiligo is widely believed to be an autoimmune disorder and though it’s not known what it’s caused by, stress and emotional trauma can exacerbate the symptoms.
Kandice said: “I think stress triggered it, because when I got stressed I started seeing a more prominent spot on my nose and it started spreading more.
“It was like it happened overnight.”
Over the course of a year the white spots spread and now they cover her entire body.
The disease, which affects around one per cent of the global population, is incurable.
But Kandice says she wouldn’t want to be without it anyway and says vitiligo makes her unique.
Kandice added: “Vitiligo has honestly made me a stronger person.
“At first the stares made me feel very very uncomfortable but now I look at those people and wave.
“To anyone else going through this, you need to love yourself. Be patient with yourself. You are stronger than you think.”