It’s not uncommon to find people with vitiligo among the public. Everyone must have seen someone with those white patches, may be on the face,lips or on the hands. On seeing, many feel sorry for them, many feel awkward and repulsive.
There is a psychological impact and a societal boycott an affected person always faces. So do this girl, when she was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 12. The patches quickly covered 75% of her body.
Bullied throughout her teenage years, she hid the distinctive patches under long-sleeved tops and trousers; an act that intensified after a girl asked whether she had "showered in bleach."
“I was so shocked that someone said that to me that I cried and cried, I didn't want to have the condition any more,” Soto told The Daily Mail.
“It made me want to start hiding away from people and left me covering my skin, as I didn't want people to make fun of me.”
“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 added.
“Now what others would perceive as an imperfection I have made into something more beautiful and made it more accepted than before."
Bullying could have demoralized her, but instead, she set out to find a way that she could appreciate the beauty of her skin.
Today, Soto is an Instagram star with more than 87,000 followers and is best known for showing off her vitiligo through body art.
Starting by tracing her patches with a black marker, she soon realised that she could begin to see her vitiligo in a positive light and to teach others about the condition which affects as little as one per cent of the world’s population.
One of her photo says-“ Remember you are MAGIC. Don't ever let anyone dull your sparkle. Let that sparkle from within shine brightly on the outside with confidence, self love, and positivity. Be proud to wear YOU #vitiligo”.
She hopes that by using her skin as a canvas she can inspire others into understanding that vitiligo is nothing to be ashamed of.
“Thanks to doing this I've learned to accept myself more than I did before,” she said.
People always fail to get themselves educated about Vitiligo, which is just a disease against the colour cells of your skin and nothing more. There are antibodies that kill the Melanin producing cells in patches and hence the skin area gets colourless. It do not spread to others, so don’t fear getting it.
Make them feel equally accepted, just with different skin, than that of yours.