Ashley Soto, the woman in these pictures, was diagnosed with a melanin disorder known as vitiligo when she was 12 years old. The disease causes skin to lose pigment in patches, varying in size and shape. Within a year, it had reportedly spread to 75 percent of her body. In an interview with the Daily Mail, the 21-year-old from Florida revealed that after being asked by another girl if she "showered with bleach" she covered up her skin out of embarrassment.
She told the Daily Mail,
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. 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.
But Ashley Soto says she learned to love her skin by outlining the patches of skin where pigment has been lost, turning her entire body into a work of art. Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said,
I never realized how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker, it really helps to bring out the different colors of my skin. I was always trying to find a way to look at my skin in a positive light, I couldn't do that before starting this. Now what others would perceive as an imperfection I have made into something more beautiful and made it more accepted than before.
No longer shy about her condition, Ashley Soto tells the Mail,
I will continue creating different pieces of art with my skin and hope it inspires others in the process. Soon I will be doing some glow in the dark markings which will be a real challenge but it's very exciting. Thanks to doing this I've learned to accept myself more than I did before.