The beauty of self-love

A journey to finding self-love can be a long and winding road, which is something UAE influencer Salama Mohamed knows all too well.

Counting your blessings is something we often forget to do, instead many put their energy into worrying about what people think, menial things in everyday life, comparing ourselves to others. However, for UAE influencer Salama Mohamed she considers herself truly blessed, leaving a reminder of it for her 500,000 followers on Instagram with a message on her profile, “Blessed with vitiligo.” Vitiligo is a skin condition Salama was diagnosed with since she was five. It’s a disease that causes the loss of skin colour in patches, which can get bigger over time. While she has learned to love her condition, it’s been a long struggle to find a place of self-love and acceptance.

“It was a struggle growing up, when you feel you are different and don’t fit in it is easier to think there is something wrong with you,” she tells Emirates Woman. Throughout her formative years, her condition left her wondering why she didn’t look like the other girls at school, whether she was pretty or not, whether someone would love her. However, Salama grew to become more comfortable and more accepting in her own skin. “It sort of became my trademark, a part of me that was unique and beautiful, it is what made me different and I wanted to celebrate that,” she says. “However, I will be honest that as I grew up no matter how confident I was there was always a little part of me that would question myself and my beauty, someone who would stare at my eyelid a little too long, or ask me if I was ok, which would make me a little uncomfortable at times.”

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It’s not only stares that can sometimes occur, in a video produced by Salama’s husband Khalid Al Ameri – who is a YouTube and social media star – about his wife, he highlighted some of the messages he receives about her skin condition. “A lot of people send me direct messages of formulas or medicines that Salama can take to get rid of her skin condition,” he explains in the video, which now has over 3.5 million views. “Why do people make the assumption I want her to change? Why do people make the assumption that she wants to change?” The video showcased Salama at the 2018 launch of the Christian Louboutin Degrastrass PVC nudes collection of seven different nude shades to match different skin tones, which was celebrated with seven different women of influence in the UAE.

It’s a piece of her husband’s work that still brings tears to her eyes, but it’s also a realisation for Salama on how far she has come on her journey to self-love. Today, Salama embraces her condition with “every inch” of her being, and she’s actually more than happy to answer people’s questions if they ask about it. “[It means] I can explain and educate, so I can support other women and men going through what I went through, to let them know they are not alone, and that we are beautiful in our own unique way,” she says.

Through her self-love journey, alongside her husband, the pair have grown quite an impressive online community together. The pair create content on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok creating short skits, which relate to many others. It’s through her husband she found her own space in the online community, in the beauty space, with a passion for skincare.

 

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A post shared by Salama Mohamed | سلامه محمد (@salamamohamed) on

A great skincare routine for Salama, can make her feel good on the inside but also the outside. “When I take care of my skin it feels like a permanent positive effect on my well- being, rather than makeup, which in the moment feels incredible but at the same time it is temporary, great skin lasts longer,” she says. This rings true, as she’s a huge fan of the lengthy Korean skincare routines, with a 10-step process she takes morning and night. “These steps include face wash, toner, essence, serum, sheet masks, eye cream, moisturiser, neck cream, a leave-on mask and sunblock,” she says. “Then I do the same at night minus the sunblock, phew!”

However, she ensures she never forgets how far she’s come, with the reminder of being “blessed with vitiligo”. “It’s a reminder that having vitiligo has been a blessing, it has made me stronger, more confident, and brave to live a life where I don’t have to live by a set of standards or look a certain way to feel beautiful,” she says. “Life can be difficult, but those experiences only make you stronger. They teach you about yourself and what you are capable of doing in this world, so use those experiences and your strength to live the life you want, and keep moving forward.”

For more on all things beauty, pick up a copy of June’s ‘The Beauty Issue’ or download it here.

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Images: Supplied