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Like many people, Beth had no idea what psoriasis was when she was first diagnosed. Here she explains how she has since learnt to embrace her skin, and why she wants to help others do the same.
When I was told I had psoriasis, I had no idea what it was or even how to spell it. All I knew was it was something to do with my immune system, it was giving me tiny, red blotches all over my body and that there was no cure. At 22, I had a lifelong disease that I was going to have to learn to manage – the future suddenly looked a lot less rosy and distinctly more red and dotty (and itchy!). My psoriasis appeared all over my body during my final set of exams at university so could’ve been triggered by stress but, with no family history of psoriasis, I was totally lost.
After almost a year of my skin getting progressively worse, I had been through steroid withdrawal, many dismissive GP appointments and the horror that is winter with the world’s driest skin. I eventually got a dermatology appointment at the local hospital and was put on the waiting list for UVB light therapy treatment. This was when I came across the psoriasis community on Instagram and the #getyourskinout campaign, and my views on my psoriasis completely changed – I wanted to embrace my skin just like all these other people were doing. I realised my happiness was not based on how clear my skin was but the difference I could make by sharing my story.
I’ve had psoriasis for two years now and have since completed two bouts of UVB light therapy which has been a huge help in keeping my psoriasis under control. Psoriasis is all about trial-and-error and finding treatments that work for you and your life, as well as being open to creating a new lifestyle that incorporates your skincare and health needs. I’ve found that exercise is a huge help – I joined the local dodgeball team and this has helped boost my mood, confidence and energy levels (I really struggle with fatigue and complete lack of motivation), as well as pushing me to continue to show my skin.
I’ve also realised how important it is to educate yourself about psoriasis and share this with others. As a journalism graduate, a blog was always on the cards for after university but I never imagined it would be focused on psoriasis! I created Blotch (blotchblog.com) as a creative outlet for me to keep track of my skincare and help with my mental health, and to support others who might have felt lost and alone, just like I did, following a psoriasis diagnosis.