A teenager has a rare skin condition that means that she is unable to close her eyes, grow hair, and leaves her in constant danger of dehydration.
Hunter Steinitz suffers from harlequin ichthyosis, which means that her skin is too thick and is instead rife with dry patches. Because of this condition many people are lead to believe that Ms Steinitz has been involved in a fire.
The 18-year-old is unable to sweat because of the thickness of her skin, plus she struggles to move freely and can’t flex her fingers, plus her hair follicles are blocked by the skin which blocks her hair from growing.
Discussing her condition, Hunter, who hails from Pittsburgh, stated, “My skin doesn’t contain any of the fatty moisture everyone else has between their skin cells, like mortar between bricks in houses. All I have is the bricks.”
Many people who suffer from this disease don’t live past their first birthday as vital fats in the skin that protect against bacteria are unable to grow. However, Hunter has been able to live longer thanks to the increased awareness in the disease, which has allowed doctors to provide her with advice on how to treat her condition.
Hunter stars every day with a long beauty session, which includes a two hour bath that allows her to soak up as much moisture as possible. This is then followed by the application of various oils and lotions, that she reapplies through the day.
Hunter confessed that growing up was especially difficult with the disease, however she discussed how she confronted bullies who cruelly ridiculed her because of her genes.
Ms Steintz stated that she would introduce herself to every classroom in the building, entering and then declaring, “Hey, listen, I’m Hunter, I have this condition, you cant’ catch it.”
However, this didn’t completely stop the taunts directed at her, but it did earn her some valuable friends, who were able to look to beyond her disease.
Hunter, who lost her mother, Patti, two years ago to cancer, was encouraged to educate people of her disorder and she has since learnt to love her body, and she uses it as a plus, rather than a negative.
Hunter, who is going to university in September, is also a spokeswoman for her disorder, and plans to give motivational talks to universities and schoolchildren.
[Image via Facebook]