Rhiannon's Story

Rhiannon has lived with psoriasis since she was a teenager. In her story, she shares how much it impacts her daily.

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I was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 13/14. It started on my knees, scalp and elbows they were scaly and sore.

It took me years before I plucked up the courage to go to my GP because I was embarrassed by the way it looked. I'd never even heard of psoriasis before this. After months being told its dandruff, eczema and dry skin, I was finally diagnosed with psoriasis.

When I was 23 I had my 1st appointment with my consultant. By this point it was everywhere it had spread to intimate parts of my body, arms, legs, forehead and thighs. He recommended coal tar treatment every day for 7 weeks to try gain control my body but it never happened.

I was stained from the tar. Another reason for people to stare. I then went onto many steroid creams which again all had failed, Enstilar foam - Again failed.

I was losing hope. I'd heard so many positive stories from other psoriasis patients that it had cleared their skin. I then decided to try light therapy. This was during the summer where I had to stay out of sunlight. I was having to wear thin long sleeve tops. People staring when out on family days because I was the only one wearing long sleeve tops in a heatwave. Again light therapy had failed me, but thinking of the positives, I had an amazing tan. I had spent 4 years revisiting the same treatment that previously never worked. During Covid, my treatment stopped and I spent weeks on anti biotics from having skin infections from my psoriasis. Any little thing would cause my skin to bleed. I was in agony, I spent most of my time in tears, even to wear clothes, it was agony.

The time had come to try biologics and Methotrexate was my first try. After spending a year on it and only managing up to 10 weeks straight on it once having to keep taking breaks from it because I had multiple chest infection and had pneumonia 3 times in 1 year. It was still becoming uncontrollable while on these treatments. I am now on my 3rd dose of my new biologic Adalimumab aswell as attending treatment 2/3 times a week currently. In February it will be 6 years of multiple times a week travelling back and forth to the hospital.

I am sore. I am itchy. I am in agony. Some days I struggle to wear clothes, and my mental health suffers. But I always bounce back.

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I work full time and on my bad skin days it also seems unbearable, but I still go to work. It hurts to brush my hair. My scalp bleeds. I lose loads of hair when I brush it so I have to be careful.

My skin is always cracking and bleeding sometimes it makes me so miserable. The simple things like showering hurts. It takes ages to find the right temperature so it doesn't hurt so bad. Shaving my legs is like an obstacle course. The mentality that comes with it it's hard. I very rarely wear short sleeves as people do not understand. I've had many people start the convosations with "Err, what is that?"

People I know have pulled me to one side asking me to "Cover up the patch on my forehead with makeup." People are always staring which makes me very uncomfortable and has knocked my confidence a lot.

I am now 28 and I'm slowly learning and accepting that it's okay. If people stare, it may not always be for a negative reason. I've had psoriasis for half of my life and so far have never been clear!

I look back on the years I've had psoriasis and I cannot remember what my skin was like or how I felt without psoriasis, but I am me and it's made me who I am today.