Its something I have suffered from for around 4 years now. I first developed it when I was 23 (I’m 27 in less than a month so we’ll say 4 years) It pretty much appeared out of the blue and covered my scalp, elbows and the top of my right foot. Big, red, scaly, sore, dry patches which covered my skin. Sometimes it was flaky, sometimes it would bleed from cracking, most of all it was unbearable and made me feel insecure and self conscious.
Over the years I tried absolutely everything in the hope it would magically disappear with no luck, I was given tar gels, steroid gels, cream solutions, absolutely nothing worked and in fact I’m pretty sure its the steroid gel than actually worsened my elbows and made it spread further down my arm. Not ideal.
Psoriasis differs from person to person, no two people are exactly the same, what works for one person may not work for another, just like how it affects their skin. Some people will only develop it on their scalp, others knees and elbows, some will get one large patch in an area, some will get lots of little patches and dots.
So what exactly is psoriasis. Well, psoriasis is a long lasting auto immune disease which is characterised by patches of abnormal skin. There are five main types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic. Plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris, makes up about 90% of cases. It typically presents with red patches with white scales on top. Areas of the body most commonly affected are the back of the forearms, shins, around the navel, and the scalp.
Mine seems to be mostly a kind called The Koebner phenomenon which basically means that an injury to the skin triggers it. For example, my left elbow, when I was a kid I fell off my bike and it left my elbow scarred, the psoriasis patch on my foot developed where my friend stood on me with his new rock boots and cut my foot, my scalp possibly through years of bleaching and hair colouring abuse, and the latest patch of psoriasis on my right knee is where I fell on gravel and cut myself ( I also ended up with blood poisoning from it) Why are they appearing years later? Well, who knows really, I put it down to the amount of stress I was under at the time I developed it, I don’t think I have really been as mentally stressed or down as I was at that time before, or since.
I also didn’t take any photos of my psoriasis at that time because I felt so insecure about it, so unfortunately I can’t exactly do comparison photos but I can show you what it’s like now.
So, 4 years on, whats changed? Well, everything. I no longer feel the need to hide my psoriasis, even at its worst, I never let it rule my life, I still wore short sleeved t-shirts, strappy sandals and tied my hair back. I did get defensive at times. especially when someone would stare, or be rude or ask me about what I’d done to my elbows. I remember working in schuh and while I was doing a kids fit the little girl asked me what was wrong with my elbow and I told her it was a scar and I had hurt myself.
I learnt to love my body how it was, I knew I was stuck with it, so why fight against it. At the end of the day, its still me. Self love and body confidence is something I have been working on for the past few years. I knew even before I started my fitness journey that I needed to love me as I was, to love the skin I was in. Yes, it was hard at times, yes, there were a lot of tears but slowly the tears stopped. Excuse the pun but I needed to develop a thicker skin.
Standing here today I can honestly say that my psoriasis crosses my mind… once a day, and thats when I am rubbing off the excess skin after a shower and making sure I moisturise. I’ve also been completely fascinated with how my psoriasis has changed over the years. My left elbow is still the worst by far and has traveled a bit further down past my elbow but is nowhere near as angry looking as it once was. My right elbow, although slightly bigger than in the beginning is barely noticeable really, probably because of my tattoo. My knee aka the newbie went from being two little spots to just one, which hasn’t grown any bigger in the last 2 years and my scalp is pretty much all clear – although it does every so often have a wee flare up. My foot is where I’ve seen the most change. it went from developing into one big giant sore angry patch to splitting into two, to receding, to completely disappearing. It is back now, but its still small circle compared to the size it once was.
Sitting here thinking back, I can see how much I’ve grown over the years and I’m so proud to be where I am today. The main thing I have learnt is, you are not alone, never feel or be made to feel ashamed of who you are and the skin you are in. This is your body, your skin and your experience. Yes, it can be tough, but you are tougher.
Here’s my war wounds 4 years on. Not anywhere near as bad as they used to be. What will another 4 years bring? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see, maybe it’ll be better, maybe it will be worse, either way I’m still going to love my skin the same.
(Sorry about the photo quality, I chose not to “pose” edit, change the lighting and just wanted real life me. So they’re taken straight out the shower)
Until next time.