Vitiligo is a long term skin condition where cells called melanocytes are destroyed, which causes white patches of skin on various parts of the body. Many people who have the condition will try and disguise it through treatments, including:
However, one girl with vitiligo has decided to embrace the unique appearance after initially finding herself being bullied for the skin condition.
Ash Soto has made an effort to turn her rarer skin condition into art in order to show the importance of self-love. This positive outlook has amassed Soto thousands of followers on social media and been an inspiration for many.
Soto started to notice the signs of vitiligo when she was 12 years old. Initially thought to be a sun spot, the white patches continued to appear and spread over her body.
Soto’s confidence plummeted as the patches continued to develop as many peers would tease her for the condition.
“I’ve been called a cow, I even was once told I had Michael Jackson syndrome,” Soto revealed to her followers on Instagram. “How can an innocent girl trying to find herself take that?”
“I wasn’t born with it, I grew into it which was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” Soto stated. Luckily, she was able to love herself again and was able to galvanize others to do the same in the process.
Instead of hiding her skin condition under clothing, 21-year-old Soto decided to embrace what she originally perceived as an imperfection. She held her head up high despite the stares and comments.
“It took me a long time to share my true self,” Soto told A Plus. “I decided to post when I felt like I was strong enough and mentally able to handle the reaction, whichever way I was meant to receive it.”
Instagram helped Soto feel comfortable in her skin after she received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the post that revealed her vitiligo to her followers.
Soto’s Instagram has amassed over 80,000 followers and hasn’t just helped her learn to embrace her body, but has inspired others to look past what others may perceive as flaws.
“I want to continue to bring awareness to vitiligo and the importance of body positivity,” Soto told A Plus. “I hope to continue doing what I’m doing now which is inspiring others to accept themselves for who they are.”
This prompted Soto to start a project called “The Marker Chronicles,” which aims to idealize the notion that everyone is art.
Making her skin condition her own personal canvas, Soto has created art on her body using paint and markers.
“The acceptance of the things that make you imperfect should be your main focus,” Soto says. “Self love is the best love always remember that.”