Tuhin's Story

Growing up Tuhin's classmates made comments about his scalp psoriasis causing him to feel embarrassed and become reserved. Years later he has regained his confidence and found ways to manage his skin.

It feels like I've always had psoriasis, but it didn’t emerge until just after my 13th birthday (what a way to start my teens). It’s only on my scalp but it was still very noticeable as the flakes tended to stand out against my jet black hair. Because of this I would try to avoid wearing dark colours, the trouble is the school blazer that you had to wear everyday was navy blue and in my school they were very strict on uniforms being worn correctly. Even my tutor would tell me to smarten up my appearance and thoughtlessly tell me to brush the 'biscuit crumbs' off my collar, which never made any sense; how exactly would I get crumbs from my food onto the back of my neck? 

Just like many of my classmates I thought I had dandruff at first and that it was related to poor hygiene; both turned out not to be true. A lot of immature school mates would point it out in class or in the hallways as they brushed past me, repulsed, they would loudly announce their discovery to everyone in earshot as if they may suddenly catch it. I would feel this burning embarrassment as if all the sites were suddenly locked in on me, I would try to alleviate it with "Don't worry it’s not contagious"; but that never sounded much better.

It seriously dented my confidence as I felt people assumed that I wasn't washing or I was suffering from a more serious ailment. I actually remember leaving a biology class one morning to go see a GP about it; this is where I was first told it was psoriasis and that it was always going to be there, never fully going away. I remember returning to the same lesson afterwards and just sitting back down with my friends, now more reserved, feeling slightly dejected; this was no longer a temporary irritation.

Natural solutions, or at least relatively natural, turned out to be the best; for example, almond oil was extremely effective in managing the dryness, but it often left a sheen all over my hair which would attract a lot of attention and again looked ‘greasy’ and unclean. When it came to hair products coal tar and dermatological shampoos, like Nizoral, never really worked but again another semi-natural option ended up being the one that stuck; mint teatree shampoo, which was recommended to me by a hairdresser. Its cooling sensation still soothes my scalp to this day.

The itchiness and extreme discomfort of plaque psoriasis would often coincide with hot weather or moments of stress and anxiety such as exams or university deadlines etc. If my hair was cut short with clippers the short hair bristles would trigger flare ups; the tight jagged feeling from the close cropped hair I sported in the 2000s would aggravate the skin into an itching frenzy. Personally I always wanted my hair long but now it was also a practical choice for once, as you could see less flakes and it shielded my scalp from the dryness. Growing my hair out seemed to benefit my mental health as well, as it was a part of taking control over how I wanted to look. It may seem like a superficial change but it was one I had waited a long time to make, for me I felt more secure within myself, it was a huge weight off my mind, no pun intended. After I turned 19 I found psoriasis bothering me less and less, I was generally in a better place, a healthier, more balanced perspective on life and began to feel more comfortable in my own skin; ok that pun was intentional.

Psoriasis is a strange one; you can forget about it sometimes, for really long stretches, then other times, it seems to dominate your attention, biting away at your peace of mind like a pack of fire ants. The key to it for me was fixing a lot of the other irritations in my life, about who I wanted to be and how I wanted to look, with psoriasis becoming more of a side issue, why give it anymore attention?

Read more real-life stories from people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The Psoriasis Association is the UK's leading national charity and membership organisation for people affected by psoriasis – patients, families, carers and health professionals Read More >

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