A MUM has learned to embrace her birthmark after years of hiding away and refusing to leave the house without makeup on.
Riana Botha, 36, was born with Sturge-Weber syndrome, a rare condition that affects the development of blood cells.
As a result, she has a large port-wine stain birthmark on her face.
In her younger years, the makeup artist, who lives in South Africa with her husband Hendrik, 33, and daughter Mia-Mari, eight, struggled with her confidence.
At times, she refused to leave the house without makeup.
She said: "I'd stand in front of a mirror, look at myself, and wonder what others perceived when they saw me." But becoming a mother changed everything for Riana, and now, she feels happy in her own skin.
Remembering the first time she went makeup-free, she said: "I sat in the car for a few minutes, and I said to myself, 'You are doing this.
You can’t sit in this car forever.
If people stare, that’s part of life'." To this day, Riana still has to deal with thoughtless comments from strangers, who ask if her birthmark is the result of a burn or car crash injury.
But she does not let it get to her and hopes that by putting herself out there on social media, she will educate the masses about birthmarks, and inspire those living with them to embrace them.
She said: "Now when I look into the mirror, I see a very strong individual that doesn't allow other people's opinions to get her down." https://www.instagram.com/rianabotha1984/ https://www.tiktok.com/@rianabotha3?lang=en