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