Jeniffer Dreyer Brown, 47, posted an emotional video on her Facebook on July 6 detailing a heartbreaking experience she had at a Laguna Niguel, Calif., nail salon.
Brown said that a manicurist at Happy Nails and Spa denied her a manicure due to the appearance of the inflamed skin on her hands and arms, which is a symptom of lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that a person’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. It can affect a person’s joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. Often, UV rays can cause lupus symptoms to worsen.
The temperature on July 6 in Southern California reached over 100 degrees, causing Brown’s scars from lupus to become inflamed. She told Fox News that she suffers from “discoid lupus,” and she is essentially “allergic to the sun.”
Brown, who has lived with lupus for 15 years, said that after denying her the salon’s services, the manicurist commented on her inflamed skin. Brown said that she had been to this salon previously and there had never been an issue. However, this time she chose not to wear a long-sleeved shirt covering her skin.
The interaction left Brown feeling humiliated, judged, and hurt.
Through tears, Brown said, “People judge me because I have lupus and my skin is broken out. I’ve never felt more like a leper and more judged in Orange County.”
In the post, she asked her Facebook followers to be her friends and not to give their patronage to Happy Nails.
Users of the social media site were quick to support the woman. One wrote, “My heart is broken. I will never set foot in a Happy Nails again.” Some vowed to boycott the business, and others encouraged Brown by calling her strong and beautiful.
Lupus, which affects roughly 1.5 million Americans, has no cure. However, the disease is not contagious. As far as what causes lupus, according to the Lupus Foundation of America, “Many (but not all) scientists believe that lupus develops in response to a combination of factors both inside and outside the body, including hormones, genetics, and environment.”
Speaking on behalf of the salon, attorney Scott Wellman said in a statement to Fox News that the California Board of Cosmetology’s code states, in part, “No person … shall perform service upon a surface of the skin or scalp where such skin is inflamed, or broken … or where a skin infection or eruption is present.”
The statement continued, “We at Happy Nails feel bad for the customer that presented with Lupus disease. We do not discriminate at Happy Nails. The customer interpreted our inability to work on her nails as discrimination.”
Brown told Fox News that she will not return to the salon. She expressed hope that this incident will raise more awareness about lupus.
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