It is estimated that vitiligo—a disorder that causes loss of color in skin—affects between 0.5% and 1% of the population worldwide. However, there seems to be a shortage of representation in mainstream media, as well as a lack of understanding by the general public, making a lot of people with vitiligo disheartened by their condition. Fortunately, some of them have taken the matter into their own hands, helping others feel seen and understood. In the last few years, we've seen people creating amigurumi dolls for children with vitiligo and figures such as model Winnie Harlow walking the runway. Now, a young woman named Amara Aleman has taken TikTok by storm by transforming her skin into works of art.
Aleman runs a TikTok account in which her “ArtSpots”—the name she has given sections of her skin she embellishes with paint—take center stage. Some of her creative designs incorporate intricate motifs, while others match her outfits or celebrate a particular holiday, such as Pride month.
The uplifting artist says that the main inspiration behind ArtSpots was “the idea of taking lemons and making lemonade” after being diagnosed with vitiligo in 2017. “Life will continue to be unpredictable and it will defeat you if you’re not able to adapt and see beauty in imperfections or differences,” she told Buzzfeed News.
Looking back at how things were in the beginning, she recalls having a very hard time. “I was working as a dancer performing in theater,” she recounts, “and completely stopped dancing. I didn’t know anyone else with vitiligo in my life, and I didn’t think my friends or family would understand.” This led her to hide from everyone for a year. “I rarely left the house, and when I did, I was covered up head to toe and either [wore] long clothing or camouflage and makeup.”
Once support from her family and friends started pouring in, she saw the possibilities of it all. “I’ve always been really creative, so the idea to create art with my skin kind of came naturally,” she admits, “but once I saw the reception online and read the comments [about] how positively it was affecting those with the condition, the ideas really flourished.”
Now, she gets a ton of comments and messages from people with vitiligo who feel inspired by her art. “I share these looks because it’s a therapy for me, it’s an outlet for me to create, and I really do enjoy doing it,” Aleman says. “But I also share them for anyone who stumbles upon it and may not be in a place where they love their skin. I hope that ArtSpots encourages anyone watching to challenge themselves and their ideas of beauty.”
Amara Aleman runs a TikTok account where she shares her “ArtSpots”—sections of her skin with vitiligo she embellishes with colorful paint.
“I’ve always been really creative, so the idea to create art with my skin kind of came naturally.”
@amara_artspots Havent posted in like three weeks…you guys still here?? 👀👋🏾 #vitiligo #artspots ♬ original sound – Heimana
“I hope that ArtSpots encourages anyone watching to challenge themselves and their ideas of beauty.”
@amara_artspots 💖 #lesbiantok #vitiligogirl #artspots #vitiligoawarenessmonth #pride2022 ♬ bringing the era back yall – chuuyas gf
See more of her body art creations below.
@amara_artspots Filter lips did me dirty lol #vitiligo #artspots #70s #bodypaint ♬ It's My House – Diana Ross
@amara_artspots Reply to @y4nd3r3s1m can’t wait to recreate this in October 🖤 #vitiligo #artspots #jackandsally ♬ COFFIN – Jessie Reyez