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Mollie shares her experiences of growing up with psoriasis and how, with the support of her family and friends, she's learned to accept her skin.
My name is Mollie, I am 22. I have suffered with psoriasis for as long as I can remember. The first time I remember it really affecting me I was about 13-14, sat in my English lesson and I just couldn't stop itching my elbows. I had never noticed anything before, well not that I can think of now, I just remember thinking it had all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere. My black school jumper was completely covered in white flakes.
It affected me more mentally than physically whilst growing up. I constantly felt like I needed to cover up no matter what the weather because people would always stare.
After one winter I ended up with almost the majority of the centre of my face covered with psoriasis. From this point on it spread like wildfire, patches all over my body, my face, my ears were completely covered, it began to literally eat away at my tattoos. I ended up with such a bad scalp and eyebrows that I started to lose a lot of hair and a lot of brow, resulting in bald patches. A person’s worst nightmare. The doctors prescribed me with Dovobet and another ointment for my scalp, which have both worked to a point. I have recently started to get it under my nails and I am currently waiting to see a dermatologist again.
I started freelance underwear modelling and, after seeing photos of my skin, after doing a portfolio shoot for a friend, I became obsessed. People thought that I was confident and comfortable in my own body and skin but in reality it was the complete opposite. I was obsessed with seeing the slightly photo-shopped version of myself, the version where my skin wasn't either flaking or bright red. That was how I wanted everyone to see me because that is how I thought I was supposed to look... That is the version we see of people on TV and in magazines, right?
It has taken A LOT of time but I have finally begun to accept that it is part of me now, this is who I am. I do not need to be airbrushed to look at a photo of myself anymore, I do not need filters to hide. I am comfortable in my multiple layers of skin, regardless of the many negative comments I have received over the years because I do not match their idea of perfect.
I have to thank my family, close friends and my partner, they have never acted like it does not exist; worried it will upset me but have taught me to learn to accept it; motivated me to use my creams and ointments even when I feel like it is hopeless; made me feel beautiful even when I really haven't felt it. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and, to anyone else that suffers with psoriasis, you are beautiful too. I wouldn’t be me without psoriasis.