Howdy Reddit!

13 June is International Albinism Awareness Day. Albinism is a rare genetic disorder that causes reduced pigmentation of the hair and skin. It also affects vision development; most people with albinism are visually impaired.


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So go ahead, ask me anything.

Comments: 788 • Responses: 126  • Date: 

fitsofhappyness353 karma

What's your favorite sunscreen?

AlbinoAlex585 karma

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence. It's so expensive but so worth it.

thizzydrafts60 karma

1) Are you a regular at r/skincareaddiction because they love that stuff over there

2a) are you US based

2b) if yes, how are you getting your Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence?

2c) asking for a friend 😘

AlbinoAlex74 karma

Not a regular at SCA but I did pop in there a couple times per recommendations in these AmAs. That's an amazing subreddit.

I'm in the U.S. and just buy it on Amazon. I'm sure there are cheaper, probably sketchier sites out there that have it, but I just suck it up and pay like $12/tube on Amazon. I'm hoping to go to Japan someday and absolutely load up. Like, enough to fill a suitcase. Actually that's probably not a good idea because it expires, but I will buy a lot!

knownmagic17 karma

It looks like the biggest tube sold on amazon is 3 oz for $14. If I'm understanding your other comment, 1 oz= 1 adult for 2 hours, that means going through about a bottle a day if you're outside for 6 hours, which is like a hundred bucks a week? I guess it depends on how much you avoid the sun but holy moly

AlbinoAlex68 karma

So, a couple nuances to it.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence is an amazing sunscreen that I value because it dries super quickly. Every other sunscreen I've tried is really greasy, takes ages to absorb, and in general you just feel sticky and gross. This sunscreen feels almost like silk. Super smooth, dries very very quickly, and you don't feel a gross film afterwards. So, that's why I prefer it, but it's not like it's the only sunscreen I could ever use. A random Coppertone SPF 30 from Walmart would work just fine, and would be cheaper.

But yeah, when you consider how much you'd need to use to be protected, it can go quickly. The second part is I rarely wear sunscreen, unless I need it. When I started college I used to, but then I realized I'm sitting down, slathering on sunscreen, and then walking five minutes to the cafeteria. It's not worth applying sunscreen for five minutes of sun exposure. So, if I'm just going in the car to the grocery store? No sunscreen. Walking ten minutes to get lunch? No sunscreen. Walking from one end of campus to another? No sunscreen. Outside for two hours for a festival? Yes sunscreen. On the beach for the day? Absolutely sunscreen. So, if I just stay inside a lot, really cuts down on sunscreen usage.

brezhnervous36 karma

I am very glad you don't live in Australia...I've been wearing sunscreen every day since 1981 and in summer 50spf isn't nearly enough lol

AlbinoAlex32 karma

I actually went to Australia back in 2013 for a conference, though I went in October so it wasn't as brutal. Anyway, from my understanding SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV rays. Anyone who says it's not enough simply isn't applying enough. The rule is 1 ounce = 1 shot glass = 1 adult. Reapply every two hours.

Also also, I thought sunscreen didn't go above SPF 30 in Australia? I remember it being a big thing that they couldn't legally advertise anything higher than SPF 30 in Australia.

squrr1335 karma

Last time you did one of these I asked if you drove a Segway, and you said no, but that you'd like one.

Therefore, five years later, my question is:

Do you have a Segway yet?

AlbinoAlex259 karma

Oh no, I didn't expect to get called out like this. But good on you for remembering that!

Sadly, no, haven't even tried using one. They're kinda rare, aren't they? Seems like only mall cops have them. I think I have seen segway tours of Dallas but goddamn is it hot outside right now!

Also, are those street legal? Are they sidewalk legal? I would absolutely use one to get around, if they're legal.

soulpulp55 karma

When my high school orchestra visited Austria we rode Segways under a bridge while our palms were read by a woman dressed up as an immortal mermaid who told everyone they were bisexual. It was wild. Check with your local bridge trolls.

AlbinoAlex47 karma

So what you’re saying is I might have to pay a troll toll?

mikegates9028 karma


which makes this a very easy segue to my question...


AlbinoAlex12 karma

I wonder how people secure segways. Just chain it to the bike rack?

Does spending a copious amount of time on Reddit count as a hobby?

LordBaller300 karma

Do you have any of the ocular complications?

AlbinoAlex488 karma

All of them. They're quite numerous to list, but they all culminate in profound visual impairment. I'm considered legally blind.

dingusunchained171 karma

Do your eyes sort of twitch? I had a classmate who was albino, her eyes would rapidly twitch back and forth. I always wondered if this was a condition of the albinism or if it was just her?

AlbinoAlex314 karma

It is, it's called nystagmus. And there's a related one that some people have called strabismus. It's just a repeated involuntary moving of the eyes. We're not quite sure what causes it, I mean albinism causes it but we don't know why.

Luckily, my visual field does not move with it. That does happen in an unrelated disorder called oscillopsia, but not for us. Even if my eyes are darting all over the place, I'm looking at you the whole time.

The_Queef_of_England18 karma

Even if my eyes are darting all over the place, I'm looking at you the whole time.

You mean your brain compensates for the movement and you see it as still...I actually don't kmow how to describe what I mean. Obviously what you're looking at moves because the world isn't still, but what I mean is that you don't see as if your eyes are darting around...still badly worded. I hope it makes sense.

AlbinoAlex30 karma

My understanding is that nystagmus happens because the brain is trying to pick a fixed focus point on the fovea, which is hard because our fovea is messed up. But anyway, while the eyes are doing their crazy scanning thing I can still see straight again. Like as I'm typing this reply, I'm focused on the little box. I can look off to my periphery if I want to, but I can also just keep focused on the box for as long as I want, no matter how much my eyes move about.

It affects things so little that I almost forget I have nystagmus. Very rarely is it brought up as an adult—kids would ask about it all the time but adults never do. So I just forget about it :P

The_Queef_of_England8 karma

That's really interesting. Our brains are amazing. You say you don't notice it until you think about it, when you do become aware of it, does your subjective experience of sight change? Or is it only when you look in the mirror that you actually have proof of it?

AlbinoAlex14 karma

I never actually notice, because again my vision doesn't move around with my moving eyes. That is a thing that does happen in a totally unrelated condition called oscillopsia, and I think that's what you're trying to get at, but people with albinism don't have that experience.

But I'm sure my eyes are still moving, they're probably doing it right now. Nystagmus is a lifelong disorder. But I don't notice.

ColgateSensifoam12 karma

Do you get horizontal, vertical, or a combination of both?

AlbinoAlex17 karma

I'm not sure, I'm going to guess it's a combination of both.

Shankar_010 karma

That's interesting. Your lenses don't seem to be an overly strong prescription. Is the blindness different that what I might be thinking about?

AlbinoAlex99 karma

Think about it like a DSLR camera. You have a $600 Nikon camera body, and then you spend $1,000 in lenses for different situations. Normally, people get prescription lenses for surface level things like being nearsighted or farsighted. It's like just adding another lens to correct for a problem with an existing lens.

Now imagine if you had dust all over the sensor, and a few dead pixels, and sometimes the sensor goes out of focus for no reason. The eye issues in albinism are a broken sensor. No matter what prescription solutions you throw at it (glasses, contacts, LASIK), it's the equivalent of getting a new lens. A new lens isn't going to fix the issue, you need a new sensor.

NeriusNerius14 karma

Yes, a good analogy. I’ve used a similar one. I have a birth trauma in my right eye which makes it severely impaired. I was given all kinds of treatments from age 6 to maybe 11 as well as wore stupid big glasses without it making any difference. I did not wear glasses from 12 to maybe 25 until my left eye started feeling the strain. Even with glasses it can only correct the issue of the left eye (lense issue due to age and strain) and does not help at all with the right (sensor issue due to injury).

AlbinoAlex18 karma

I have glasses for both distance and reading, completely different prescriptions. The distance glasses make everything sharper, but also make anything close really fuzzy. My favorite is taking my glasses off just so I can squint at my phone. Bonus points for some random person to ask me, "Why don't you just wear your glasses?" as they sit on my head. That happens a lot.

ericanicole12345 karma

How common is it for people with albinism to be legally blind? I hear about it a bunch but is it a guarantee?

AlbinoAlex17 karma

I don't have hard numbers. Legal blindness is, of course, a legal definition based on your Snellen (20/XXX) number. I would hazard a guess that the majority are legally blind without correction, but some benefit more from correction than others.

Interesting, there are documented cases of people with albinism who have 20/20 vision!

Moist_Metal_7376-11 karma

Legally blind and yet it’s always about color with you.

AlbinoAlex7 karma

Albinism gives me the ability to "feel" color, so I can still tell colors apart!

Avachiel3 karma

Could you expound on that? Like Synesthesia?

AlbinoAlex8 karma

LOL it was a joke :P

Luke_Orlando231 karma

Oh, neat AmA! Thanks for doing this.

I'm sure you've heard every joke about sunscreen under the... Well you know. But what kind of practical considerations or health risks accompany albinism that people may not know, and might not learn from WebMd?

AlbinoAlex252 karma

There aren't any health implications beyond the pigmentation issue. People with albinism don't have like increased rates of heart disease or any other complication directly attributed to albinism. There is an even rarer disorder called Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) and those individuals do have albinism + a bleeding disorder and some other things, but we're getting beyond the scope.

For oculocutaneous albinism, the biggest thing to worry about is sun protection. Skin cancer is a very real risk with repeated sun exposure. I'm sure there are probably implications with our eyes, too, as we don't have pigment in our irides or retinas to block out UV rays. I'm not sure if it's possible to get a "sunburn" in your eyes, but wearing sunglasses is probably a good idea.

Enoxitus63 karma

you won't get sunburn in your eyes, your retina will just get obliterated

AlbinoAlex83 karma

Isn't it a thing where welders get like sunburn on their corneas or something? Like obviously staring into the sun anyone would fry their retina, but there's also UV rays bouncing off stuff into our eyes.

Jemeloo196 karma

Is all of your body hair white? Like, everywhere?

AlbinoAlex138 karma


HotFudgeSundaj141 karma

As a child of dark-skinned parents, how has your albinism shaped the way you racially view yourself? What about from the perspective of your peers?

AlbinoAlex247 karma

I'm still Hispanic and fully embrace the culture. Love the food, the language, love visiting Mexico.

Peers are an interesting one. Most people don't know I'm Hispanic because I just introduce myself as Alex. It's not until I bust out the Spanish that people do a double take, and a new bond emerges (if they're also Hispanic).

UnicornPanties19 karma

Oh! Sorry I said you were a guy of Caucasian origin, I guess I was wrong ha.

AlbinoAlex49 karma

Yeah I'm sure everyone I meet just assumes I'm white because, well I am and I go by Alex. The genuine surprise when I bust out perfect Spanish is a sight to behold.

DanglyPants10 karma

I’m cuban and people assume the same thing about me as well.

AlbinoAlex8 karma

There are dozens of us! Probably even hundreds!

Sethw106135 karma

Does sunscreen work for you or do you need a physical barrier to the sun?

AlbinoAlex215 karma

Sunscreen works fine, even something like SPF 30 is good. The real key is applying enough as most people don't apply enough sunscreen. And reapplying per the instructions.

Sethw10672 karma

They absolutely do not! The effective duration of sunscreen is way shorter than people realize

AlbinoAlex105 karma

And reapplying after being in water! I think sunscreens used to be able to advertise as being "waterproof" until 2011 or so. No such thing as a waterproof sunscreen, and even "water resistant" sunscreens stop working after like 40 minutes.

thizzydrafts43 karma

A YouTuber I watch recently mentioned 1/4 tsp is the appropriate amount for an average adult's face and the equivalent of about a shot glass for the rest of the body and holy hell I did not realize just how much less than the recommended amount I've been putting on 😵‍💫

AlbinoAlex56 karma

Yup, we were always told 1 ounce = 1 shot glass = 1 adult. And you have to reapply every two hours! Suddenly your 6 oz travel sunscreen isn't going to last so long...

brezhnervous18 karma

I find sunscreen which has a "barrier" ingredient like zinc ie not just chemical protection is very helpful. You have to have one which blocks UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C plus the infrared spectrum (the heat which feels like burning)

Source: Australian with very little sun tolerance

AlbinoAlex16 karma

Definitely go for a broad spectrum sunscreen. I haven't read into the research behind physical v. chemical/absorbent blocking. What matters more than either is applying enough sunscreen, and reapplying religiously.

arc88123 karma

have you thought to dye your hair another color? maybe a light coral pink would suit you

AlbinoAlex128 karma

I've always wanted to dye my hair. Could never really figure out if hair dye would hold, though. Maybe I'll try when it grows out again.

UnicornPanties72 karma

You can get super vibrant results because of your empty base color, you should try all sorts of stuff.

AlbinoAlex75 karma

What color would you recommend? Everyone always told me not to go like black/brown/dark blue. Don't go dark colors because they'll fade and the contrast would just look bad. Do something super vibrant instead.

We should do a Reddit poll on this :P

spacemarine180099 karma

Have you experienced bullying or hate due to your albinism?

AlbinoAlex164 karma

Personally, not a lot. Maybe a few wise cracks here or there growing up, but most of my peers were friendly. I mean there have been public incidents in the past, but it's not frequent.

PlaysFerDays42 karma

So on the other end of this spectrum have you ever been objectified or sought out because of being albino?

AlbinoAlex98 karma

Like the time Hank Hill got a membership to Nine Rivers because he was White?

I can't really think of any situations like that off the top of my head. I mean, even if it had happen it could be without me noticing.

pliskin4218 karma

I think they are asking if any one has ever fetishized you.

E.g. like when some folks try and date a a person of every race/ethnicity. Or who exclusively date or have sex with certain races other than their own.

Similarly folks have been know to fetishize many other disabilities, disorders, or other such purported abnomalities. E.g. porn of amputees or other disabled folks.

It is pretty concievable that some folks might get off on going after albinos. And given yall are relatively rare, I would personally guess such folks might shoot their shot.

AlbinoAlex28 karma

Man wouldn’t that be nice. This is like my 19th AmA and never once has that happened. Just a bunch of creepy guys wanting to know what my penis looks like. Though I don’t know how I would handle it if someone wanted to date me just because of a fetish.

Maybe I should have dyed my hair and gone all in on the Twilight craze back in the day, though a lot of those Twilight fangirls were crazy.

Miaous9578 karma

Is your skin uniform ? Were you born this way or there was dispigmentation over time ?

AlbinoAlex146 karma

Yes it's uniform, it's not patchy like vitiligo would be. And yes I was born this way, to my dark-skinned parents' utter shock.

Louises_ears31 karma

If your parents didn’t have dark skin, would doctors only notice later based on hair and/or eyes?

AlbinoAlex47 karma

Hair would probably be a giveaway, unless my parents were also blonde. If they were, I guess someone would notice something was up when I wouldn't be able to see very well.

grandmabc18 karma

My grandson is albino and the doctors didn't diagnose it until he was a few months old. We'd been worried about his vision as he didn't watch our faces like babies usually do and had constant nystagmus which I had no clue about at the time. They initially said he was pretty much blind and could only see light and dark which is just not true. His nystagmus is only apparent when he's sleepy now.

AlbinoAlex24 karma

Vision development is definitely delayed by a few months in albinism, which is why he probably didn't look for faces, but yeah it sucks to hear that. I can't really fault some doctors—if you've never seen a case of albinism before it really throws you for a loop. But with the wealth of information out there at least do some damn research before telling people stuff. Getting good care, especially eye care, with albinism is so hard. Most eye doctors have never seen a patient with albinism in their entire career, and just assume the same protocol applies. Even my "low vision" eye doctor had no clue what the fuck he was doing.

grandmabc7 karma

Once he'd been diagnosed, it was fine. This is Wales, UK, and he was allocated a "blind lady" by the health service who does regular assessments, coordinates with the school etc to make sure he gets the support he needs e.g. sitting closer to the board, shade in the classrooms, not having to share a worksheet etc. Now that he's obsessed with Marvel and DC, I think he's quite enthralled to have a mutation of his very own.

AlbinoAlex4 karma

Aww that’s so cute! Reminds me of when people would tell me I resembled a shiny Pokemon (not sure why, I guess they’re rare? Idk I just rolled with it). But it’s so good to hear he’s getting the support he needs. I’m glad I had accommodations in school, though I wish we had had today’s technology back then. Some thing like an iPad would have been a game changer when I was in school—it certainly helped me tremendously in college.

OMGCamCole13 karma

At what age were you diagnosed? Was it picked up on when you were young? I imagine your parents being dark-skinned would have caused some initial confusion. What was the initial reaction? Was the albinism diagnosed fairly quickly, or was there an extended period where your parents where very confused?

AlbinoAlex35 karma

I don't remember the details anymore, but I would assume they figured something was up immediately. I know there's a file in my medical records of a genetic consultation when I was... either six weeks or six months old, before 1 year for sure. No genetic testing back then, but the genetic counselor easily diagnosed albinism.

Avachiel12 karma

Was there an initial conversation about paternity? lol

AlbinoAlex22 karma

You are NOT the father! Cue jumping on the chairs and running out of the room

I don't think so. Maybe as a joke, but I doubt there were serious accusations. I would hope someone in the hospital knew what albinism was and could clue them in.

TheSinningRobot7 karma

Is it more or less likely for someone with albinism to be born to darker skinned parents, or is race/skin tone irrelevant?

AlbinoAlex9 karma

It's totally irrelevant as it's a genetic disorder.

Negative__D73 karma

Why do you have so many iphones?

AlbinoAlex103 karma

I got into doing iPhone repair for a bit, so I bought a ton of broken or "not working" phones on eBay. Still working through the backlog.

silasgreenfront68 karma

Got any tattoos? Knew an albino guy when I was younger and he noted that tattoo artists considered him a magnificent canvas.

AlbinoAlex103 karma

None currently, but yeah I often get told that my skin would be like a canvas and tattoos would absolutely pop. Especially color ones. Getting a tattoo is definitely on my bucket list.

Turkey_Teets40 karma

My best friend growing up had 3 albino brothers. They're a black family, he and his parents have dark skin. Seeing what those guys went through as kids, and probably still do at some level, was hard. I hope you haven't had too many tough situations and I'm glad you're doing this for awareness. I just wanted to say that but since it's an AMA...

What's your favorite Mexican dish?

AlbinoAlex44 karma

I can't imagine how difficult it would be to be African American and have albinism. I know that in Africa people with albinism are very often ostracized and shunned, not sure if that happens stateside as well. I'm very fortunate that my family always accepted me and even fellow Mexicans always respected me. They thought it was kinda funny that this white guy busts out perfect Spanish, but they were always friendly.

Man, do I have to pick just one? Can I pick churros? Sopes are also dope. Honestly, the best part of going back home to visit family is home cooked Mexican food.

Limmmao39 karma

Do you have any albino friends you share your experiences with?

AlbinoAlex48 karma

None that I talk to on like a daily/weekly basis, but I've met plenty of people with albinism.

uqj213139 karma

How do you feel about the character in the Da Vinci Code? I can imagine that it hurt the perception about people with albinism

AlbinoAlex88 karma

I've never seen Da Vinci Code, believe it or not, but I know that the negative depiction of people with albinism in Hollywood was a huge controversy back then. Powder, Princess Bride, and The Heat were also implicated at the time.

I didn't really form strong opinions one way or another. I certainly don't like people with albinism being portrayed as villains or as having superpowers in films, but I also don't think it really sways public perception that much. I doubt the general public thinks I'm evil just because they saw some movie.

Ctiyboy36 karma

How much sunscreen do you use?

AlbinoAlex72 karma

Same amount as anyone else would use. SPF 30 is good enough for everyone, even us. Though, I prefer to just stay inside all the time rather than constantly having to slather sunscreen.

thewildrosesgrow22 karma

I don't have albinism, but as someone with very pale skin I love UV protective clothing and I never go outside without a hat.

AlbinoAlex34 karma

UPF clothing is definitely awesome, and I'm told it's quite breathable (Texas summers are brutal). I'm definitely more fond of the sunscreen and stay out of the sun route, but I'm sure I would benefit greatly from some long sleeves and a parasol.

Marranyo33 karma

Do you play the guitar?

AlbinoAlex31 karma

No, but I wish I could, it looks fun.

blankuser6929 karma

Hey, i have too and I am from India where almost 8 months is summer. Practically hell for me. Always have to use SPF40 sunscreen when going outside.

What is your visual acuity btw after using glasses ?

AlbinoAlex24 karma

In the U.S. we use the Snellen number. I'm 20/400 without correction and 20/200 with correction.

The_Incredulous_Hulk27 karma

If you had a baby with an albino woman, what are the chances that the kid would be invisible?

AlbinoAlex59 karma

100%. I'm still going to do it, though. An invisible baby will grow up to be an invisible adult who can rob banks without being noticed. Cha-ching!

Surprisinglydumber22 karma

I had an Albanian friend as a kid, he was much darker though, maybe it changes with age?

AlbinoAlex7 karma

Skin pigmentation varies in albinism, it's not always the extremely pale presentation we often associate with albinism.

ericanicole123420 karma

Does bruising look particularly gnarly on your skin?

Also is albino skin thinner than people without albinism? I wouldn’t imagine so but I just thought of it

AlbinoAlex30 karma

Eh, I think it looks the same as it would on anyone else. Bruises are often dark brown, never really get that red/purple that some people do.

I don't think so? I think it would be easier to get bruises or damage if our skin was thinner. My veins are super easy to see, though.

porcupine_kickball19 karma

If I pour red wine on you, will you stain? Do you have, or thought about getting tattoos since the details would show up so well.

AlbinoAlex38 karma

If I pour red wine on you, will you stain?

Yes! >.< It's a bitch to get out, too. Normally I have to pre-soak in the tub before taking a shower.

Do you have, or thought about getting tattoos since the details would show up so well.

I'm often told my skin would make an amazing canvas and tattoos would pop, especially color ones. Haven't really settled on a good tattoo yet, but I definitely want one. I mean I have one idea, but it wouldn't be color.

DerWilliWonka13 karma

Wait a moment. About the stain thingy. Is it a joke I didnt got or does red wine really stain on your skin?

AlbinoAlex23 karma

It's a joke :P I assumed the question was a joke, so I responded with a joke. Hopefully it was funny.

bunnie-hime5 karma

In all seriousness though? (Another albino person, hello lol)

One time in middle school, I smacked my head against the concrete side of a pool in swim class, and started bleeding a bit from the top of my head. By the time I caught it, it had dripped down into my hair and down my face. The bloodstain WAS a bit difficult to get out of my scalp, and it dyed an awkward chunk of my hair bright orange! God it looked awful!

AlbinoAlex4 karma

Reminds me of when I’ve had pens explode on me and spread ink all over my hands. That stuff is hard to get off and so profound on white skin. My hands looked like a cow :(

armikk15 karma

Oh interesting! I'm not equating you to a guinea pig, don't get me wrong but I had an albino piggle who's eyesight was terrible if even functional which I thought was interesting. You look awesome and being a ginger I praise your comments about sun screen!

And a question as it is an AMA, do you get called out for being albino at all in public? Do people notice and have any type of reaction? And apart from the eyesight, what are the main things you have to "deal" with when it comes to albinism. Again zero dissing I'm just curious and think you're cool for doing this!

AlbinoAlex22 karma

Aww, I've always wanted an animal with albinism. The bonding, though! I remember I saw a National Geographic special on this family with albino snakes and OMG!!

Anyway, very few people say anything in public. I think once, before the pandemic, someone approached me in CVS and asked, "Are you albino?" but rarely does anyone ever say anything about it. People will ask my parents about it, but they won't ask me.

Beyond eyesight is just the sun exposure. I really wish I had the flexibility to be spontaneous. Like the other day I was at the art museum, indoors. Across the street is a public park with all kinds of cool food trucks. So after we left the museum I walked over to the park. And I was having a blast walking around, seeing the food options, etc. But then I had to be mindful that it's bright and sunny outside and I wasn't wearing sunscreen. Do I deal with the hassle of putting it on? Will we be here long? Sometimes how long I'll be there is not up to me.

armikk3 karma

Thanks for your reply and not taking offence of instantly thinking of my late guinea pig! It was sad cause I generally don't buy pets from pet shops but this guy had been there months longer than anyone cause who wants to get their kids a rodent who is white with red eyes. So he was far older than the larger than the other "cute" babies and I had to have him. (I know you don't have red eyes but this dude did).

Follow up question (and as you're doing an AMA, maybe irrelevant), do you mind when people bring it up?

And I obviously don't have it as rough as you but I'll readily burn in an hour in Finland/Scotland in like March when the sea is still frozen. But people can wait - apply the sunsceen and go enjoy all the things!

AlbinoAlex10 karma

My current rental doesn't allow pets, but once I have the flexibility I'll definitely look. It's so sad no one would want a pet with albinism. More work, but I'm down.

Never. I wish people would ask me about this in public. I completely understand why they don't—if the person is self-conscious you don't want to make them feel bad—but I'm totally open about it and love answering questions. That's why I love doing these AmAs, so that anyone who's ever wanted to know anything can just ask, risk free. I get to spread information, you learn something new, everyone wins!

DontbeHumorphobic14 karma

how many fingers am i holding up?

AlbinoAlex56 karma

Two. It's always two.

4wheel4ever14 karma

Would butthole bleaching actually change the color of your butthole?

AlbinoAlex15 karma

I don't know, let's find out!

123hig13 karma

Are there any albino supremacy groups? Like extra white supremacists?

AlbinoAlex20 karma

We would give the poor boys a run for their money, wouldn't we?

Forever_Overthinking12 karma

Do you have any freckles or moles?

Can you tan? Obviously I'd expect a burn, but does your skin darken under the sun?

AlbinoAlex14 karma

There are some brown moles on my arms. Interestingly, some people with albinism have moles that will tan, even though they themselves cannot.

It's really hard to say. We'd have to have a scientific way to measure skin color and then compare in the sun. I don't think I tan, but I can tolerate some level of sun exposure. I also get red, but it's not like sunburn ow it hurts red. Probably still means skin damage from the sun, but it doesn't hurt.

Noiseraser11 karma

I once met an albino girl with violet eyes, maybe it was the light but can an albino girl have violet eyes?

AlbinoAlex11 karma

Yes. Most people with albinism have blue eyes, but the exact color is dependent on how much pigment they have in their irides. My eyes aren't blue or violet, for example.

Thudrussle11 karma

What is something you wish more people knew about albinism?

AlbinoAlex33 karma

I wish people knew about the visual impairment aspect of it. I can't blame them for not knowing because it's not obvious, but it really sucks when you can't see and people don't know that. Having a store employee point and say "'It's over there," and still not being able to see the product. Getting pointed in directions, "look for the sign." Don't get me started on drivers not being friendly towards pedestrians.

Dessert_Bobbler11 karma

You keep saying "person with albinism" instead of albino. Is albino considered offensive or outdated? (Yes, I see your username :).) Interestingly, many hardcore autistic activists hate "person with autism" and prefer "autistic". So I wonder about the different cultures.

AlbinoAlex15 karma

It's complicated. Yes, you'll find that some people with disorders prefer the "person first" approach, like person with autism. Though, just like some people don't mind being called "autistic" some people don't mind being called "albino." One of my friends with albinism had the nickname "albinosauras rex" in high school.

I use the person first approach just to avoid pissing anyone off. That does add a level of political correctness to it, but you know how PC culture is nowadays; like assuming someone's gender. And for what it's worth, "albino" has been used as an insult and derogatory remark in the past. I mean it's still used as an insult today, but it's less common. I know a 60 year old with albinism who will body slam you for calling her albino, because she was teased relentlessly for it as a child and young adult.

mickeybuilds11 karma

Is it true that albinos can see better in the dark than most people?

AlbinoAlex21 karma

Personally, I feel that my night vision is better than my day vision, but that might just be because it's less bright at night. Photosensitivity sucks and so if you can turn down the lights I squint less and can focus more. But I don't think there's inherent like better night vision.

BigCheifGrubz11 karma

Serious question. In your experience have you noticed any racism between.... how do I word this? "Caucasian" albinos and albinos "of color"?

AlbinoAlex13 karma

Interesting question. Personally, I don't think I have. The community is really tight-knit and everyone hangs out with everyone else. There's definitely a ton of diversity but what we share transcends race.

MaimedJester10 karma

Okay is "Powder" an offensive movie or so bad you can't help but laugh your ass off it movie?

For anyone who doesn't know Powder is basically the magic negro stereotype trope applied to a person with Albinism. It is right up there with Hollywood debacles about health situations like that little person movie Twinkletoes that your jaw drops on how was this a good idea and no one in Hollywood realized how bad this was going to look in retrospect.

AlbinoAlex9 karma

I've personally never seen it. I know many people in the albinism community were unhappy with it, because at the end of the day it's a negative portrayal of a person with albinism.

I would hope no one took that movie seriously enough to genuinely believe that people with albinism have magical powers. Such an outlandish portrayal is probably funny (again I haven't seen it). I'm not as fond of portrayals that perpetuate myths, like a character with albinism having red eyes.

Andy54168 karma

Are you blind? There was an albino couple at my university, and they were blind as bats nearly. Great dude though, he was treasurer of my fraternity.

AlbinoAlex10 karma

How did he manage the money if he was blind? :P

I'm legally blind, but can still see, just very blurry from far away.

Buddah_Noodles8 karma

Has it been your experience that people are uncomfortable around you in unstructured social situations? I mean curious about the degree to which people are unkind or intentionally hurtful versus avoidant and which of those is more difficult to deal with generally?

Also curious about how the social experience of albinism has changed for you throughout age groups.

Thank you for being so generous and vulnerable.

AlbinoAlex32 karma

In general, people are basically indifferent. No one has ever been hurtful or aggressive, but I don't think people shy away or get scared, either. It seems most people either just pass by like you would any other stranger, or at the very least stare. I'm told lots of people stare when I go out in public. Especially little kids, which is kinda cute because they haven't learned to be sly about it, they just dead stare at you, you can just see the curiosity in their eyes and their brains going a mile a minute trying to figure out what's going on. But no one makes remarks or anything hostile.

In fact, I have a... I want to use the right word here because it's inappropriate to throw "hypothesis" and "theory" around willy nilly. I bet that people who see me in public have questions. I bet they want to know what life with albinism is like. They just don't dare to ask because that would be awkward, and I don't blame them. But I wish they would ask. That's why I love doing these AmAs. I'm always open to questions, but people have no way of knowing that.

Though I try to be somewhat social and do try to strike up conversations whenever I get an opportunity. Standing next to someone in a long line, chatting up employees at the shop, etc. Everyone I've interacted with has been super friendly, never guarded or avoidant or anything. I like to say that sometimes I forget I have a condition that makes me stand out in public because everyone treats me like I was anyone else.

For me, personally, not much has changed throughout time. But I do know significantly older people with albinism (60+ years old) who were bullied relentlessly for having albinism. Where it's really hard to accept who they are and be open about albinism because it caused so much grief for them as children. They would never be open to doing something like this. I feel that acceptance of differences has definitely increased over time, and I'm blessed to have grown up at a time where people didn't automatically exclude you just because you were different. If anything, today's younger generation seems to explicitly celebrate being different.

NeilaTheSecond8 karma

why are your eyes not red?

AlbinoAlex43 karma

People with albinism don't have red eyes, that's a myth. Most people with albinism have blue eyes, maybe a hint of violet. You can see my eye color here.

Serv3125 karma

I think it's because some albino animals like rats for instance look like they have red eyes apparently becuase the lack of pigment and blood vessels

AlbinoAlex8 karma

Albino animals absolutely have red eyes, and yes it's because of the lack of pigmentation. Not 100% sure why it doesn't extend to humans, but that's certainly where the misconception started from.

Iamnottheonewhonocks7 karma

Have you ever considered dying your hair/eyebrows?

Thanks for the AMA!

AlbinoAlex4 karma

I have, mainly hair. I haven't been able to settle on a color, or really gather all the information on hair dye. I won't say I don't know because countless people have very patiently explained things to me in these AmAs. Things like permanent v. temporary hair dye, whether dying damages hair, bleaching, etc. It would be different for me, and I just need to sit down and figure that out.

LuzjuLeviathan7 karma

Have you ever been called ghost?

Have you ever dieed your hair? And if yes, wich color?

Have you ever been subject to the lore about albinos? (Touching one makes you die, you bring luck, or you can overtake deamons from others)

And do you have better luck fishing than average?

AlbinoAlex11 karma

Have you ever been called ghost?

I don't think so? Maybe jokingly in an AmA, or maybe as a kid.

Have you ever dieed your hair? And if yes, wich color?

Never, but I've always wanted to. What color do you recommend?

Have you ever been subject to the lore about albinos? (Touching one makes you die, you bring luck, or you can overtake deamons from others)

I know about some of them, and it's not an albinism AmA without people bringing that up jokingly, but never in public.

And do you have better luck fishing than average?

Only been fishing once and never caught anything, so from my one observation I'm going to say no. However, everyone knows good science requires many samples. Let's go fishing!

GandalfDGreenery4 karma

re: dyeing your hair, lots of good colour brands are available in the US, like manic panic, and Arctic fox, and why not go for every colour! Do a rainbow, do a target, a friend once used turquoise and purple to paint my hair like Sully from Monsters Inc, and that was great!

You'll want a dark coloured pillow case, and either use disposable shower caps, or wrap your head in cling film while you let the colour get into your hair, leaving the dye on over night will get you maximum brightness and colour depth.

I hope you have a great time painting your head :D

AlbinoAlex3 karma

Was on a cruise recently and someone recommend... I think it was CHI? it's saved as a Google search somewhere, though I've also hard good things about Manic Panic. I think I'll just go to a salon for my first time, though.

Definitely missed the opportunity to do the pride flag in my hair.

-butter-toast-7 karma

How much money a month do you spend in sunscreen?

AlbinoAlex6 karma

It's more like yearly. I prefer to just stay indoors rather than being outside all the time and slathering on the sunscreen. So I might buy two tubes a year and use them sporadically.

ZelosIX7 karma

Would you change anything about that if you could ? Do you think your live would be better with pigments ?

AlbinoAlex8 karma

It's really hard to say. As much as a lot of aspects of it can be difficult and make life challenging, I have had so many opportunities and experiences I would not have had if I was normal. I think I'm at a point where I'm happy with who I am and wouldn't change it.

Would like some of that 20/20 vision, tho.

Prismatta6 karma

Is it possible to diagnose albinism during pregnancy or did your parents just find out when you came to this world?

AlbinoAlex5 karma

That's a good question that I don't know the answer to. We know the genetic basis for albinism so I guess you could do that, but I'm not sure how they screen for disorders (like Down's syndrome) during pregnancy. Do they do genetic testing?

It seems most parents find out at birth, mine certainly did. They had no idea they were carriers and I doubt albinism is screened for in testing anyway.

LifeWin6 karma

If I eat you, will I gain powers?

Asking for a friend in a country that rhymes with Schmanzania.

Also...if yes, does that work if you bite your own fingernails?

AlbinoAlex25 karma

Only on Wednesdays. Sadly, it doesn't work when I bite my own fingers, has to be someone else.

Bananawamajama6 karma

Why are you white?

heidismiles20 karma

Oh my god, u/Bananawamajama; you can't just ask people why they're white.

AlbinoAlex9 karma

Dammit, missed my chance to say this.

I need to rewatch Mean Girls now.

AlbinoAlex11 karma

Baby I was born this way!

Forever_Overthinking5 karma

What are the framed things behind you in the selfie? Are those pieces of smart phones?

AlbinoAlex8 karma

Yeah, they're deconstructed iPhones, similar to this

ChillWisdom5 karma

If you had vitiligo, would you even know?

AlbinoAlex11 karma

I guess not? Not sure how that would work since vitiligo is losing pigment and I don't have any to begin with. Now, a reverse vitiligo where I gain pigment would be weird.

Oh oh! There HAVE been situations where women with albinism took birth control and got pigment! It came in in splotches like some fucked up reversed vitiligo! We have no clue why it happens, but it does sometimes.

C153AUX5 karma

Two questions, if I may.

  1. Not sure if you drive, but is your photophobia a major obstacle?

  2. Do you feel like your family fully understands what having albinism entails in terms of having low/limited vision?

AlbinoAlex9 karma

  1. I don't drive. Driving with albinism comes down to your visual acuity, and every U.S. state has a different threshold for how good your vision needs to be in order to issue you a license. People with albinism who drive also tend to use something called bioptics, which are like little binoculars glued to your glasses. They let you dip your head and look through to see things further away (signs, stop lights, etc). before looking at the road. I would imagine depth perception would be a bigger implication than photophobia. Whenever I sit in the front seat of a car I can't wrap my mind around how people park. My depth perception is awful and I would never be able to tell how close or far away I am from the cars next to me. But, when it comes to getting licensed, the states only care about your visual acuity.

  2. I think they know by now the limits of what I can and can't see, but I don't think they understand just how challenging life is without car. I grew up in a small town with no Uber and poor public transportation and getting anywhere was insanely challenging. I live in a big city now and the transit is still trash, but it's way better. They keep trying to convince me to come back home, and can't seem to understand just how much I struggled with something as simple as getting to a college class when I lived there.

jazzb545 karma

It seems that Latinos tend to prefer lighter skin, often calling their slightly lighter skinned kids "gringo" or "wedo", and people with hair that is lighter than black "blonde". Do you get favorably treated by latinos/hispanics? In the province, you'd be god level white.

AlbinoAlex2 karma

I've heard that about Asians, but never knew Latinos held the same beliefs. Definitely get called those names by Latinos, but I wouldn't say I get any favorable treatment.

dont_believe_sharks4 karma

I think most people with albinism look alike. Does that make me racist?

AlbinoAlex8 karma

Is it considered racism since albinism is a genetic disorder and not a race?

dont_believe_sharks2 karma

That's what I'm saying. It keeps me up at night.

AlbinoAlex6 karma

I've also always wondered: Am I too white to wear "bling"?

mickeybuilds4 karma

Is your penis all one color? If so, do you have any interesting anecdotes about showing it to women for the first time?

AlbinoAlex8 karma

It's not? But no, I don't tend to just whip it out like LBJ, and very few women are curious to begin with.

Throwawy0983 karma

Have you ever heard of someone named Noam Chomsky? If not, will you Google him?

AlbinoAlex8 karma

Yup! I took a class on language development and we studies his theories for a bit. Interesting guy.

BaronBabyStomper3 karma

Do you ever worry about getting sacrificed?

AlbinoAlex16 karma

No, I have the albanian albino mafia to back me up. They're ruthless.

Twinkied18482 karma

Tyronase positive or negative?

AlbinoAlex5 karma

I guess you would say negative? OCA type 1 is caused by mutations in the TYR gene, I have OCA 4 as a result of mutations in the SLC45A2 gene.

flipping_birds2 karma

Are you a fan of Johnny or Edgar Winter?

AlbinoAlex3 karma

I haven't listened to either, yet :( But they both seem like cool artists. I wish I could learn to play the guitar.

Arcticflare2 karma

Hi there, Albino Alex, thanks for having a good sense of humor for the internet. My question has little to do with your skin color but I love asking people this because of the responses I get:

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? Please tell us the story behind it. Thanks!

AlbinoAlex3 karma

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard I cried, but definitely laughed so hard I got out of breath. It's usually for really small, dumb things that should not be that funny. Like that video of the baby panda sneezing.

I was watching Fresh off the Boat and there was a scene where there's like a block party. The White neighbors haven't warmed up to the Asian family yet, so when the Asian mom is cutting the cake into small pieces the White moms said, "I bet she's cutting them that small because of communism. It's because of communism, isn't it?" I laughed for a solid like five minutes. I don't know why it was so funny, but it was.

str8sin2 karma

Is there some niche fetish you get to fulfill for happy partners? Maybe B&W home made porn that was really shot in color?

AlbinoAlex14 karma

I'm tempted to say it's not a fetish, but then I remember rule 34. And, without fail, someone always wants to know what my penis looks like in these AmAs. Just wait for it.

joelmooner2 karma

What age did you/your family discover your albinism ?

AlbinoAlex6 karma

I assume they knew from the moment I was born, that something was up anyway. I know I have an official diagnosis in my medical records from... six months old? But they probably got told unofficially from the get go.

MoonDog-20771 karma

Do you regularly wear shades?

AlbinoAlex3 karma

No :( I really should, I just never liked them. They make the world this awful shade of brown, and actually make my visual acuity worse if you can believe it. But I think for my long term health I should probably suck it up and get some.

MrBullrock1 karma


AlbinoAlex9 karma

Sorry, all out of stock. Supply chain issues.

darthkyle221 karma

Is it true that if you see sunlight, you'll become the burnt?

AlbinoAlex4 karma

Sunlight actually gives me strength and youth. Like that girl's hair in Tangled.

imvsorry1 karma

did u ever had any issues in school for allegedly bleaching ur hair?

AlbinoAlex2 karma

It was for allegedly being adopted, not for bleaching my hair.

Actually, the adoption thing did come up a few times, but I was never really bullied for having albinism. I mean kids would crack jokes every now and then to look cool, but overall I was lucky to have extremely supportive and friendly peers.

Regenerating_Degen1 karma

How would you rate your condition out of 10?

AlbinoAlex10 karma

5/7 with rice.

itsiCOULDNTcareless-1 karma

What color are your cock and balls in comparison to the rest of your body?

AlbinoAlex3 karma

Wouldn't you like to know ;)

itsiCOULDNTcareless4 karma

Please change your post to “AMA but not about my cock and balls”

AlbinoAlex3 karma

Let's talk about Rampart.