Ashley Soto, a student from Orlando, Florida was diagnosed with vitiligo when she was 12 and she spent years hiding the peculiar white patches under long sleeved tops and low trousers. She was bullied for her vitiligo but sooner she learnt to see the beauty in her skin by painting it with stunning works of art.
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Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition characterised by patches of the skin losing their pigment and become white with sharp margins. The hair from the skin may also become white. Often the patches begin on areas of skin that are exposed to the sun. It is more noticeable in people with dark skin. Vitiligo may result in psychological stress and those affected may be stigmatised.
What people think as imperfection, she made it creative and acceptable. She started to love the condition by covering the patches with unique designs, from a map of the world to Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. ‘I never realised how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker, it really helps to bring out the different colours of my skin,’ she said.
She was so bullied about her skin during her childhood that she went through emotional trauma.
After a little girl asked Ash if she had showered in bleach, Ash felt so bad and ashamed of her skin that she decided never to show her skin in public.