Woman with a birthmark and enlarged lip who refused to leave the house without make-up finally embraces her natural looks – thanks to her family who never make her feel ‘different’
- Lisa Butler, 36, was born with a port wine stain birthmark and enlarged lower lip
- Used to cover her face with makeup everytime she popped out to hide the mark
- The lettings negotiator from Wales now says she’s happy with how she looks
- She’s been through years of people staring at her and asking her rude questions
A woman with a large birthmark under her lower lip has shunned the idea of treatment to remove it or covering it with make-up, insisting she’s confident in her own skin.
Lettings negotiator and mother-of-three, Lisa Butler 36, from Wales, was born with a port wine stain birthmark, which is a discolouration caused by a capillary malformation of the skin.
For years, she refused to leave the house without make-up, but when she took part in a Channel 4 show to learn how to use camouflage cosmetics, she realised that hiding her birthmark actually made her more self-conscious.
‘I think being a wife and mum, having a job I love, having amazing friends and family all contribute to me feeling comfortable in my skin. To an extent I think it was a confidence that came with age,’ she explained.
‘My family and friends have always embraced me for being me, no matter whether I’m wanting to wear lots of make up or no makeup.
‘I credit my family and friends for my confidence. I have never been made to feel different than anybody else.
Lisa Butler (pictured) was born with a birthmark and enlarged lips and spent most of her adult life going through painful surgical procedures and covering her face with makeup. Pictured: left: Lisa au-naturel and right, Lisa with makeup)
Lisa pictured with her husband Karl (left) and son (middle). After years trying to hide it, the mother-of-three finally embraced it
‘My family have always been so loving and my friends, especially my best friend, have always been really protective of me.
Last year, Lisa took part in a Channel 4 show to learn how to apply camouflage make-up, so that she had the option to cover her birthmark if she wanted to.
‘On the day of filming, in the middle of a busy beauty hall, I began the makeover. A short while later my makeup was beautifully done, and you couldn’t see my birthmark,’ she recalled.
‘It was exactly what I’d asked for but how I felt took me by surprise. All of a sudden, I felt more conscious of the strangers around me than when I didn’t have makeup on.
Lisa as a child. Growing up in a loving family, Lisa never was made to feel different or self-conscious. She grew self-aware upon joining the labour market as a young adult
After years of covering with makeup and going through painful lip surgeries, Lisa is done trying to hide and embraces her birthmark
‘This is the moment I knew that I was happy with how I am, I didn’t really want to cover up my birthmark with makeup.’
Growing up, Lisa never felt different to anyone in her family or among her friends, until her late teens, when she started working in a restaurant surrounded by strangers.
She would then be faced with various questions including ‘what have you done to your face?’ ‘What’s wrong with your face?’ or ‘have you been in a fight?’
‘When people make comments like these my stomach drops, and I just want the floor to open up,’ Lisa said.
‘Even when I’m asked hurtful questions like this, I remain polite and simply explain it’s a port wine stain birthmark and I was born with it.
Lisa with her husband of fifteen years, Karl, whom she said never made her feel different because of her lip or mark
A family day. Lisa (pictured with her mother) says it’s when a makeup artist covered her birthmark with makeup strong enough to cover tattoos that she knew she was ok with her natural look
Lisa said she turned a blind eye when strangers stared at her face or asked her rude questions about her birthmark (pictured on a day out)
‘Sometimes it’s not a person’s words that hurt, but their actions. When I see someone staring at me and sometimes whispering or pointing, I turn a blind eye and pretend not to notice.
‘I always knew I had a port wine stain birthmark, but I never thought about it, or even gave any thought to the fact I looked different to most people until I was an around 17 or 18.
‘Around this time, I was working part time in a restaurant and it was the start of me leaving the bubble of friends I had grown up with.
Her birthmark starts on her lips and stretches to her chin. While she says she might try surgery again in the future, for now, Lisa does not want to change a thing
Lisa smiles at the camera during a night out.
Lisa, pictured wearing a costume during a play when she was two-years-old, said she never felt self-conscious growing up. Right: A young Lisa smiles at the camera
Doting mother: Lisa, pictured with her daughter, said no she would not consider getting any further treatment to minimise her birthmark
‘It was around this time that I started encountering many more strangers, in work, in the supermarket etc.
‘It seemed that this was the time that people would start asking me “what have you done to your face?”, “What’s wrong with your face?”, “Have you been in a fight?”.
‘As an adult I came to the stage that I didn’t leave the house without make-up on. It didn’t matter if I was going to work, shopping or visiting family, I would not leave the house without at least a small amount of make-up.
Pictured Lisa dressed up for an event, feeling confident. She said that to an extent, her confidence came with age
Mother and daughter. Says her job, her family life and motherhood have made her more confident in herself than ever
Now, however, Lisa has become so comfortable in her own skin, that she wouldn’t consider getting further treatment to remove the birthmark or operations to reduce the size of her lip.
She says she credits her family, and husband of 15-years Karl, for her newfound confidence, as they never made her feel like she was different to anyone else.
‘I had laser treatment up until I was 11-year-old, then I told my parents I didn’t want to do it anymore. It wasn’t having any visible results and the procedure was painful,’ she said.
‘I had another short course of laser treatment when I was in my twenties. I’ve also had two operations on my lower lip to try and reduce the size. I wouldn’t rule out treatment in the future, but right now I am happy how I am.
WHAT IS A PORT WINE STAIN?
A port wine stain is a birthmark caused by the overdevelopment of blood vessels underneath the skin.
The change in the blood vessels is caused by a genetic mutation which occurs before a child is born, and will remain for the rest of a person’s life – though the severity of them differs between people.
Port wine stains begin as a flat red or purple mark and, over time, can become more raised, bulkier and darker in colour.
They can occur anywhere on the body but 65 per cent of them appear on a person’s head or neck.
Around three in every 1,000 babies has a port wine stain and they are more common in girls than in boys, though the reason for this is not known.
Treatment usually involves laser treatment to remove some of the dark colour from the mark, or camouflaging the discolouring using a special type of make-up.
Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital
‘Those close to me always say they don’t see my birthmark – it’s taken me a long time to get my head around this.
‘I believe regarding make up and treatment there is no right or wrong answer. I believe this applies to everyone, not just this with disfigurements.
‘Everyone is different and will want to make different decisions. I think you should do whatever you feel comfortable with and will allow you to live a full life.
‘I am very aware that I have been blessed with an amazing support system and the confidence I have is down to their love and support.’
Lisa as a child. ‘I think you should do whatever you feel comfortable with and will allow you to live a full life,’ she said
Karl and Lisa taking a selfie together. ‘As an adult I came to the stage that I didn’t leave the house without makeup on,’ she explained, but now, Lisa feels confident enough to go out bare-face
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