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Living with psoriasis affected Sian's confidence and self-esteem causing her to cover up her skin and avoid the hairdressers. After finding a treatment to successfully manage her skin Sian wants to share her experiences to help others.
Hi, my names Sian, I am 26 years old and was first diagnosed with psoriasis with I was 21. I have a combination of guttate, plaque and scalp psoriasis, and it has been a mental and physical battle to try to manage the condition.
I had just finished my first two years of university and was a few months into my Industrial Placement Year in Civil Engineering. I noticed new small red spots on my tummy and at first I thought nothing of it. Quickly it started to spread across my trunk, my arms and my legs. This is when I first went to see the GP.
After several trips to the GP and the pharmacy I finally had the diagnosis. I started using topical treatments prescribed by the GP, moisturisers, emollients, and topical steroids. Between these treatments and getting some sun and dips in the sea during the Northern Irish summer, my first flare began to calm down. My confidence increased and I was basically clear for a year after this.
The second flare up, however was much worse and covered 90% of my body, my scalp was much worse, and I felt like with every move my skin was flaking on my clothes. This was now my final year of university, and I was embarrassed of my skin and felt self-conscious doing the things I used to enjoy. The creams and steroids were no longer working for me and the next step was UV treatment at the hospital.
The UV treatment seemed to work; however this was short lived, only a month later my psoriasis came back, more painful than before. At this point I did not want to wear anything short sleeved never mind skirts or shorts. As my university stress intensified so did my psoriasis. I would itch until there was blood and I was so embarrassed of my scalp I refused to go to the hairdressers.
My dermatologist was understanding and knew we needed to try something else, and I have now been on an immunosuppressive treatment, methotrexate tablets, for two years. Right now, I could count the number of psoriasis spots I have on one hand. This has helped me completely regain my confidence, and I could not be happier with the progress.
I wish I had read some of these stories when I was struggling, as hearing other people open up about their condition has really helped me and I hope that my story can help someone else. I still find it hard to open up about my psoriasis but have recently realised that speaking to someone really does help, and you would be surprised to how many people understand and can sympathise with the condition.
Throughout May Sian is fundraising for the Psoriasis Association by completing a 'dip a day in May'. Everyday throughout the month she will be challenging herself to a cold water swim or 'dip' in the Irish Sea. If you would like to support her challenge visit her fundraising page.