Heads up, national media: this is what courage and bravery looks like -- not a man wearing a dress.
19-year-old Ciera Swaringen was born with moles covering her entire body from head to toe. She is one of less than 1% of newborns who are born with the rare congenital birthmarks called melanocytic nevus.
Ciera has endured teasing since she was a small child. But her strong sense of self and confidence helps her overcome the childish taunting.
"Teenage boys are usually the first to comment when they see me," Ciera said. She added, "Over time I've learnt to brush off negative comments and remember that most people stare and say cruel things because they're not used to seeing someone with my condition."
Ciera said being from a small town in North Carolina helps because most of the people there know about her birthmarks.
"People in my town don't bat an eye when they see me now," she said. "But if I go somewhere new, it's not so easy."
She even uploads 'selfies' of her birthmarks to show her friends on social media page what courage looks like.
The largest mole stretches from her hips to her thighs. The moles are made up of nevomelanocytes that extends from the surface of the skin down into the dermal layer.
While most of the mole lesions are harmless, some may develop into malignancies (cancer) later on.
The lesions are usually found on the face or neck but can be located anywhere on the body.
The typical treatment for congenital melanocytic nevus is hair removal by laser. But most doctors caution against laser removal as it may lead to malignancy (cancer) if the laser goes too far into the dermal layer.
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Source: Daily Mail Online