The awesome reason one girl went from hiding her 'flaw' to sharing it with millions.

When Julia was little, she had a small grey mark on the left side of her face. By the time she turned 13, it had spread across her forehead and cheek.

Since it didn't look like your average birthmark, it worried Julia and her parents, so they went to a doctor to make sure it wasn't cancerous. While the biopsies came back negative, the doctors didn't have a name for the discoloration on Julia's face.

Julia Hernandez. All photos via Dermablend.


So, like any young woman of today, she put a photo of herself on the internet, and someone with the same condition told her what it was. It's a birthmark called Nevus of Ota, which is simply a hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Unfortunately, however, learning her birthmark's name was only half the battle. Now she had to learn how to live with it.

Considering she was also entering her teen years, a time when kids are the most judgmental, that was easier said than done.

"When [people] see my birthmark, they ask me if I have a black eye, or if I got in a fight, or something," says Julia. "That just made me feel, like, not normal."

She tried various coverups to conceal it, but none really did the job.

After years of enduring regular taunts and jeers, she finally came upon a foundation that helped — Dermablend.

Julia applying Dermablend.

"I was so happy because I never thought I would find a makeup that would make my skin look even," Julia says.

Now that she had the choice to cover up her birthmark, Julia decided to take a huge risk and put her whole self out there for the world to see.

She began doing makeup tutorials on YouTube during which she'd expose her skin pigmentation to show people how one covers up a birthmark like hers.  

Showcasing this longstanding insecurity was not a decision Julia made lightly. She was incredibly nervous about what judgments might pop up in the comments. However, to her surprise, no such comments appeared.

Instead, Julia was flooded with messages of support and solidarity from people dealing with their own vulnerabilities. She even came across one girl with the same birthmark who was so grateful for the confidence Julia's makeup tutorials instilled in her.

But makeup isn't just about overcoming insecurities for Julia. It's also about exploring her artistic side.

"My face is like a canvas," Julia says. "I love to paint, so I get to be creative and create whatever look I want that day."

She doesn't feel like she has to cover up her birthmark all the time anymore, but when she does, it's more about showcasing her true self rather than trying to hide it. Dermablend gave her that choice, and with that came a huge dose of confidence.

"At the end of the day, it’s just a birthmark," Julia says. "It’s not who I am."

Check out Julia's whole story here:

Dermablend Reflections: Julia

After hiding her birthmark for years, she now feels comfortable just being able to be herself.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

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Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

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