An author has revealed she had her birthmark removed because she was tired of people thinking she was a victim of domestic abuse.
For years, Olivia Kate Cerrone lived with a type of birthmark, called Nevus of Ota, on her face which resembled a black eye.
“My Nevus of Ota triggered a profound discomfort in others, and I became afraid of the consequences of their fear,” she wrote on xojane.com.
She felt she may be experiencing subtle discrimination at job interviews and professional events and was concerned of the impact it may have on her future, so she decided to get rid of it.
Cerrone was diagnosed with Nevus of Ota a few years ago by a dermatologist after years of living with the dark mark under her eye.
According to The London Dermatology Centre, Nevus of Ota have a blue-black colour and are sometimes associated with eye disorders.
“These stains are usually present from birth but can develop during puberty,” reads their website. “People of Asian descent are more likely to bear these birthmarks.”
Cerrone’s birthmark started to darken after puberty and that’s when the comments she received became unbearable.
“I was cornered by a woman in a post office who seemed adamant, even hostile, about me being in an abusive relationship. I politely but firmly replied that I was not,” she explained.
On top of unsolicited remarks from strangers, Cerrone also felt under scrutiny at work events and feared her birthmark would have a negative impact on her career.
She worried people would think she was “too troubled” to hold down a job, so she decided to take action.
She received laser treatment to destroy the excess melanin in her skin and after nine months of treatment, her black eye virtually disappeared.
“For the first time in years, I could go out without wearing makeup and not be insulted or shamed,” she said.
Although she said she feels relieved to no longer have to explain her appearance to others, Cerrone said she feels slightly guilty about “modifying” herself.
She said: “I’ve continued to struggle with the fact that I was able to escape such public scrutiny while countless others, for various reasons, can’t.”