Click here for COVID-19 (coronavirus) advice for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis and eczema run in Robyn's family. Here she shares her experiences, from her treatment journey to how she maintains a positive attitude towards her skin.
So I must have been about 6 or 7 when my mum noticed some strange marks on my knees. I'd fallen over a little while before and, during the healing process, something kick started my immune system and my psoriasis came out to play.
Skin conditions were not uncommon within our family. My maternal Nan had suffered with psoriasis and eczema, the latter of which was passed to my sister, who would find childhood trips to the seaside particularly painful as the salt water crept over her sore skin.
One of my earliest memories is going to the hospital after school, sometimes daily, to receive various different topical treatments. After being creamed and left to 'set' I'd get to bath it all off, and my mum would wash my hair in hospital-issue pink shampoo that smelt like sweet almond. I loved it.
Since then, and as I've grown up, my treatments have evolved. Anything from UV to Methotrexate to Biologics, all with varying degrees of success. Typically I start off well with medication but then it's as if someone flips a switch and my body says 'thanks but no thanks'.
One of the hardest times was 'the methotrexate years'. I should caveat this by saying that this is just based on my personal experience - everyone reacts differently - but I really struggled with the side effects. I started taking the tablets on a Thursday evening, which meant most of Friday would be spent feeling like I had the worst hangover, sick to my stomach. Some days I couldn't face the smell of certain foods, others I would be craving greasy carbohydrates and sugar, sugar sugar.
Eventually I moved on to the injections, and for a time this seemed to be a good alternative until a series of quite serious upset stomachs meant I couldn't continue. After that came Otezla and Cosentyx, the latter of which suited me best. Like the Goldie Locks of the psoriasis world, I had stumbled across something that seemed just right! But, for one reason and another, I couldn't continue. Right now, I'm letting everything leave my system and although my patches are creeping back I feel healthier than I have in a while.
I've always been pretty positive about my skin. It is part of me but it does not define me. Sometimes during a flare up it's tempting to cover up, but what would that achieve? Confidence is key, and if I'm not bothered by what's on the outside, why should anybody else be?