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Zara Hartshorn, 16, Looks Middle-Aged Due to Rare Condition

A 16-year-old girl in the U.K. looks about 50 years old, as she suffers from a rare genetic condition which makes her skin become loose. 

Zara Hartshorn is from Rotherham, South Yorkshire. She has been teased and bullied for most of her life due to the condition which she inherited from her mother, Tracey Gibson.

The condition is called lipodystrophy. It causes her skin to look wrinkled and distorted. It is not known if she will suffer age-related illnesses sooner or if her life expectancy will drop.

A plastic surgeon in the United States stepped in to help Hartshorn by performing her facelift and nose augmentation for free. Since the surgeries, she has felt more comfortable with her appearance, and has even started dating.

Dr. Arbhimanyu Garg said her condition is not actually lipodystrophy, it is an even rarer condition called cuts laxa, which affects only 30 people in England.

"Before I had surgery I was picked on for looking different, now I look the same as other girls my age. I don't feel like people are staring at me when I walk down the street anymore. I finally feel like a teenager," she said.

"I've carried some hurtful comments with me all my life but now I feel ready to leave the past behind and forgive and forget."

Hartshorn learned she had the condition her mother has at age four, when she started developing excess skin around her jawline.

"Mum explained that I had an illness like she did, but that I was beautiful and shouldn't pay any attention to what anyone said. The bullying was worst between the ages of eight and ten. Kids used to call me monkey and granny and I was even beaten up just because of how I looked," she said. "It got so bad I stopped going for awhile."

But now, Hartshorn doesn't fear going out in public and is more confident now than she has ever been.

"I feel much more confident and just happier in general. I'm now able to do things like going to college and having a career which I might not have felt possible before," she said. 

"The surgery has given me a boost and now I don't fear what other people think. I've noticed a change in me and I feel a lot happier."

Sources: Daily Mail,MSN


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