25-year old Ash Soto, a resident of Orlando, is working to raise awareness on vitiligo and the importance of self-love. She wasn’t always confident in her skin, but now she is embracing who she is. Ash has vitiligo, a skin condition where one’s skin cells stop functioning, which causes a person to lose pigmentation. Vitiligo appears as white blotches or patches of skin that are lighter than one’s original skin tone.
Ash was first diagnosed with vitiligo when she was 12 years old. It started with a tiny spot on her neck and then it expanded within a couple of months. Vitiligo is a long-term condition and there is currently no known cure. Growing up, it was very hard for her to deal with vitiligo while going to school.
Confidence and Creativity in Raising Awareness
When Ash grew more comfortable in her skin, she decided to use her newfound confidence in a creative way. She no longer saw her vitiligo as a “skin condition” but rather, a work of art. As an influencer and spokesperson for vitiligo, Ash has creative ways to embrace who she is. Many of her Instagram posts feature her vitiligo as a “map of the world”.
“Art was a great escape and a way to empower myself mixing my vitiligo with art and making it into a masterpiece. (It) would empower me overtime and I’d get stronger and stronger. My vitiligo no longer controls the way that I live my life,” – Ash Soto
Facts About Vitiligo
Vitiligo isn’t merely a “cosmetic” issue. It is an autoimmune disorder which affects the skin. Learn the facts about Vitiligo (information via Global Vitiligo Foundation.)
- 70 million people across the world have vitiligo
- Between 20-30% of patients are children
- Anyone can get vitiligo – it affects individuals of every race, ethnicity and gender
- There is no known cure for vitiligo. However, there are a few treatments such as topical creams and light therapy
A Proud Latina and Vitiligo Spokesperson
As a native of Puerto Rico, Ash is a proud Latina. She has learned to embrace her body as well as her heritage. Soto’s Instagram is full of artfully creative photos that celebrate herself. Many of her captions are about harmony and kindness, as well as reminding others to embrace their skin.