What's it like living with psoriasis?

Read our young people's stories about life with psoriasis.

Being diagnosed with psoriasis at a young age and dealing with the condition in your teenage years may be daunting, but you're not alone! Have a read of our young people's experiences below.

If you'd like to share your own story and have it featured here on Psoteen and on our social media channels you can find out how to get involved here.

Afsah's Story

I have had pustulosa psoriasis for the last 17 years and it's been really hard. I was born in France but the treatment was not good over there, so the French doctors recommended to go to England and get treated, and we moved to England.

I got bullied and lost tons of friends during primary school just because of my psoriasis, people were scared that they would get psoriasis and that made me depressed, so after a few years we went back to France to live there. But going back was a big mistake, my skin was so bad that I stayed in hospital for almost 2 years. Even if I went to college in France, people would punch me, kick me and take all my blood out, just because of psoriasis! I honestly felt like giving up, I felt like a dead fish.

So after 2 years of torture we left France and hopefully we are here forever. I went to high school for 2 years and my psoriasis was terrible, I caught pneumonia and that made my life soo hard because I didn't get my GCSEs in maths and English, I still got 6 GCSEs.

In 2018 the whole year my skin was perfect, I did one year of college without any stress, but as soon as 2019 came my skin is as bad as it can get... I am not feeling good at all, I am depressed but I am going to the gym which is helping me soooo much. My personal trainer and my gym has changed my life sooo much... I just want to say to people with psoriasis it's hard but try to be #happywithpsoriasis because I think it shows how much God loves us.

Alice's Story

It all started when I was 13, my scalp was always itchy, bleeding and flaky. I thought nothing of it and continued to go on using anti-dandruff shampoo, assuming that was what was wrong with me. It wasn’t until I was 17 and was having an ear examination when the doctor said to me “I can’t give you this medication because of your psoriasis” I’d never heard of psoriasis and assumed it was the name of a bone in my ear... The doctor then explained to me that it was a skin condition which I suffered from on my scalp, ears, face.

Over the next year or so my psoriasis spread to my arms, stomach and back while getting worse on my face. I saw numerous dermatologists, it didn’t help that it was at a time when I was moving away for university so I couldn’t keep one doctor.

Then for the next two years I switched medications countless times, even to steroid based creams. It wasn’t until this summer where I worked outdoors while the UK was struck with a heatwave that my psoriasis cleared completely. At this point I realised sunshine was the best medicine, but sadly living in the UK, the weather isn’t always the greatest.

I found it very difficult when my psoriasis got very bad on my face as throughout my teenage years I was very insecure. It got to a point where I would plaster makeup on my face to hide it. Recently, I’ve come to terms with my face and that the redness of the psoriasis comes and goes. I have set up an Instagram to share my experience with psoriasis and which makeup works best to cover it without making it irritated. Hopefully, those using makeup will one day be able to take the leap and go bare faced too! 

Alicja's Story

My life with psoriasis had started a week before my 18th birthday and the first thought I got in my head was "I cannot be a blood donor”, which was my dream for many years. I cried because of it, not because I heard I’m ill. Not even one member of my family has psoriasis, so everyone was shocked when I got this information from my doctor.

At the beginning, there were only a few spots on my elbows (of course they gave me steroid creams) but with time they started to spread.

I didn’t know where to find physical and psychological help. I know that I’m stronger than my illness but still, there were moments when I felt like a loser because of ps. My hobby is cosplay, so it was quite obvious that my appearance means even more to me. I started to hold back with my hobby.

Last year I started a second major of studies and this was my breaking point. I work so hard for everything, but my psoriasis was in the worst state ever. In the morning I had to wait to move my arm because everything was hurting and cracking so much. I got used to itching and bleeding. I decided to change it, give myself some time.

I gave up on my second major. I started a diet, new way of thinking and it's working. Of course, not every spot back to normal and I have to wait for results, but I was getting better! I came back to cosplay, even became a Polish representative in the European cosplay contest, C4 2017.

Nowadays, I am an active member in a Polish support group, and have had many positive comments on my post about my hobby and “not giving up”. This is why I started the social project #JestemBiedronką which means "I'm a ladybug" (something like a cute nickname for psoriasis warrior). I want to show people that they are beautiful and they can achieve their goals.

We did 2 photo sessions with Szkoła Kreatywnej Fotografii in Cracow, and now we are waiting for our first exhibition - 14th May. We are more than amazed by responses on our fanpage - more than 80,000 people have seen our content! Not only in Poland but around the world. Even if we are just a little drop of water in the process of changing social perspectives of psoriasis, we are really glad we did it. This project has changed me and given me more strength than any other treatment, even if my skin looks worse then half a year ago, I'm accepting it.

Photo credit: Agata Lazar, Make up: Maja Bławuciak 

Benjamin's Story

Soo... It all started back in 2009 when I was in Maths, I was just 15 at the time. I noticed my head felt quite itchy, so not thinking much of it I gave it a scratch; as I scratched more and more I noticed what I thought at the time was dandruff all over my workbook. I felt really embarrassed as it was clearly noticeable when I checked my head in the mirror. That night I got home and asked my mum to check my hair... she said it looked like something called ‘Ringworm’. She then booked me a doctor’s appointment for the following week.

When I saw my GP he said it was something called scalp psoriasis, and that it could be controlled but wasn’t curable. I remember thinking at the time I wish it was that blasted worm thing my mum had previously mentioned. I managed to control the scalp psoriasis with ‘Betnovate scalp application’ and, even to this day nearly ten years later, I still use it now and then when it appears to get sore.

A few months after discovering I had scalp psoriasis, I noticed a few pink patches on my arm and on my torso. I went back to the doctors and he confirmed that those were also patches of psoriasis, and gave me what was then ‘Dovonex Cream’ (now only in ointment form in the UK I believe), to put on the plaques. The patches didn’t appear to go down much, however it managed to control some of the patches over the next four or five years and reduce some of the redness of others.

At the age of 20 I went back to the doctors as I was unable to control my psoriasis with ‘Dovonex’, so was then given ‘Dovobet gel’. I wasn’t given any instructions other than to apply it once at night. Unfortunately, being a bit naive at the time I didn’t do any research and wasn’t aware to have a break from using it. After using it constantly for two, maybe two and half years I was having a constant flare up. I managed to get a doctor to refer me to a dermatologist. 

After waiting 5-6 months for the appointment, I was put back on Dovonex and then ‘Enstilar foam’ (and also told my severity of psoriasis is mild and that I should cheer up). Unfortunately for me the Enstilar foam also made me flare up the moment I came off of it. I then tried to get another dermatology appointment as I wasn’t happy with the dermatologist that I saw. I was given an appointment but it was another 6 month wait. In the meantime I paid to go privately but was told there wasn’t anything that they could do. 

I eventually got round to seeing a new dermatologist about four weeks ago... finally I feel like someone actually cares and listened to what I had to say. I’ve been referred for UVB treatment twice a week, and am currently on my fifth session. I haven’t noticed much improvement yet but I’m hoping it’s still early days. 

I would like to thank the Instagram community, because without being able to speak to others I wouldn’t have been able to keep sane at times. My wife is very supportive, however it’s nice to speak and hear from like-minded people. I recently set up my own Instagram page to share my journey with others: @benjaminpsoriasis.  

  • Afsah
  • Alice
  • Alicja
  • Benjamin

Beth's Story

When I was told I had psoriasis, I had no idea what it was or even how to spell it. All I knew was it was something to do with my immune system, it was giving me tiny, red blotches all over my body and that there was no cure. At 22, I had a lifelong disease that I was going to have to learn to manage – the future suddenly looked a lot less rosy and distinctly more red and dotty (and itchy!). My psoriasis appeared all over my body during my final set of exams at university so could’ve been triggered by stress but, with no family history of psoriasis, I was totally lost.

After almost a year of my skin getting progressively worse, I had been through steroid withdrawal, many dismissive GP appointments and the horror that is winter with the world’s driest skin. I eventually got a dermatology appointment at the local hospital and was put on the waiting list for UVB light therapy treatment. This was when I came across the psoriasis community on Instagram and the #getyourskinout campaign, and my views on my psoriasis completely changed – I wanted to embrace my skin just like all these other people were doing. I realised my happiness was not based on how clear my skin was but the difference I could make by sharing my story.

I’ve had psoriasis for two years now and have since completed two bouts of UVB light therapy which has been a huge help in keeping my psoriasis under control. Psoriasis is all about trial-and-error and finding treatments that work for you and your life, as well as being open to creating a new lifestyle that incorporates your skincare and health needs. I’ve found that exercise is a huge help – I joined the local dodgeball team and this has helped boost my mood, confidence and energy levels (I really struggle with fatigue and complete lack of motivation), as well as pushing me to continue to show my skin.

I’ve also realised how important it is to educate yourself about psoriasis and share this with others. As a journalism graduate, a blog was always on the cards for after university but I never imagined it would be focused on psoriasis! I created Blotch (blotchblog.com) as a creative outlet for me to keep track of my skincare and help with my mental health, and to support others who might have felt lost and alone, just like I did, following a psoriasis diagnosis.

Ellie C's Story

Being a teenager isn’t easy. The ever-fluctuating frustration around your own changing body and how it fits in with the world around you is enough to discourage anyone from healthy self-esteem. This frustration is elevated beyond reproach when you develop psoriasis at a young age.

My own journey with psoriasis has been testament to this. Having recently entered my twenties, for the first time in my life I am accepting of myself not just in spite of my skin condition, but because of it. In my teens however, I was plagued by insecurities not just about the way I look, but about how people would think and speak about me. I remember the first time I ever revealed my skin in public having just turned thirteen, on holiday with my dad and brother. With the blazing sun on my cardigan-clad, psoriasis ridden body, I plucked up the courage to whip off my outer layers to get some sunshine on my skin. Not two minutes had passed before a concerned looking member of hotel staff approached and asked if there was anything he could get me for “that” (pointing at my white, scaly legs). Obviously, the man was just trying to be helpful, but that self-deprecating voice in my head exploded into a cacophony of self-consciousness and anxiety. I grabbed my clothes and rushed back to my room where I stayed crying the rest of the day.

The fact is of course, that more often than not you over-sensationalise your condition. The number of people that have told me they’d never even noticed my psoriasis, despite being racked with my own self-consciousness is quite staggering. The problem is that in a society where you are constantly judged for what’s on the outside, you never really stop to take care of yourself on the inside. Ever since I stopped obsessing over every single sideways glance and ignorantly phrased comment, I’ve been able to channel the negative thinking into something more positive. I’m slowly becoming able to wear short-sleeved shirts or shorts without obsessing over my skin being on show; or able to stay in the gym for an entire session without running out because of how irritated my skin looks.

If I had one piece of advice for my younger self when my condition initially broke out, it would be to not let the fear of what people may think of you stop you from taking risks and doing what you want to do. If I could impart one goal to anyone suffering with psoriasis who still struggles with that little voice in their head telling them to run away, it would be to channel your frustration into a more positive outlet. For me, writing about my problems and how I was feeling helped me to understand and deal with it more easily. This journey is a long one, with lots of very itchy twists and turns, but however long it takes for you to finally start accepting yourself along with your #LeopardSpots, you will be a more resilient person because of it.

You can follow Ellie's psoriasis journey on Instagram at @psofar_psogood.

Ellie M's Story

Hey guys 🙋🏼‍♀️ my name is Ellie, I’m 24 years old and this is my psoriasis story.

So I was 15, and I remember it so well, walking to school when I felt an itching sensation coming from my stomach. Me and a friend took a look at it and, as we had no idea what it was, we put it down to the fact my mum may have changed the wash powder. Forgotten about, a year passed and I began noticing the itch coming back but this time, along with small dry circles all over my stomach which was obviously quite concerning. After numerous trips back and forth to the doctors, I was eventually told it was psoriasis - what the hell is psoriasis? I had never heard of this condition before so I had absolutely no idea what it entailed. I began using steroid cream which, for four years, seemingly kept the rash and itching under control. It became a natural part of my daily routine and I was worry free.

Then... I turned 23. Talk about returning with a bang! That year was one of the most difficult years of my life. I went through a lot personally and endured some intensely stressful times which resulted in my psoriasis coming back and engulfing my entire scalp. I cried myself to sleep nights on end, trying to lay on my pillow whilst my scalp felt like it was on fire. In desperation I tried every single option offered to me; creams, butters, shampoos, oils, you name it. Although this made me extremely self-conscious, I wanted to try and find a solution that was chemical free. No doctors’ visits, no steroid creams... Just a hunt to find something that worked for me.

Fast forward 7 months and I’m feeling absolutely fabulous about my psoriasis. Some days are better than others, but learning how to accept your condition is a part of the journey. By following pages like this, I’ve found positivity and strength through everybody else’s stories and tips - it’s really helped me & I hope mine helps you. 💜

Erin's Story

When I turned 12 that’s when I noticed spots red appearing on different parts of my body. I went to endless appointments for a diagnosis as time went by I was taking home 2 big bags of steroids and creams just for these tiny spots I never knew anything about. Eventually I got diagnosed with Psoriasis...

My first initial thought was I have no idea what that was because I was so young. The worst part was there was no cure! After years of going to children’s hospitals and dermatologists I kept receiving the typical steroid which I’ve been using for years, it thinned and irritated my skin so much that even clothes burned when I wore them.

As I became a teenager it began to cover every part of my body, even in hot weather I would wear jumpers and jeans. My mental health deteriorated and my confidence continued to lower itself. At 17 I finally got offered an alternative treatment at Addenbrookes hospital, they were caring towards my situation and offered me UVB light therapy. It cleared my skin straight away!! But it started coming back after a few months...now I’m 18 and I’m finally starting to accept the way I am! I realised more people were in the same situation as I was and it inspired me to want to become an advocate for Psoriasis.

I’ve become vegan and letting my skin have air and sun light. I feel there should be more awareness because it’s a daunting disease there could be more people out there hiding themselves from the world! My advice to you is to open up about your condition, tell people, tell your friends and family more people around you might have it too! If you need advice my Instagram is erinmelissa18

  • Beth
  • Ellie C
  • Ellie M
  • Erin

Georgia's Story

I've had psoriasis since I was 15, but it’s hard for me to remember a life without it. It’s always been by my side in some way; it was there when I when I sat my exams, when I went to prom, when I learnt to drive and when I started University! Whether it’s one little patch behind my ear that doesn’t seem to want to go or entire flare up that can cover most of my body – it never fully leaves! I used to find that really difficult and frustrating, I’d spend nights stressing over why it wouldn’t go or why creams just wouldn’t work! I would try every tip under the sun in an attempt to attain the perfect skin I was seeing plastered around mainstream media every day and it’s taken me 6 years to realise that that really isn’t necessary.

I have always had dry skin, ever since being a baby, and I knew that my biological Dad had strange patches of thick, white skin on his elbows but I never thought anything of it. When I was told I had eczema in primary school, I let that blow over and took it in my stride. As far as I was concerned I was just a regular child – I just had to moisturise! Everything changed around that time.

In my last year of primary and into my first few years of high school I became a target for bullies. I stood out because I didn’t comply with social norms. My clothes were different and I didn’t bother styling my hair when others did. When girls my age were starting to get nice school bags and learning how to use makeup I was quite content just being me. I became a target both in and out of school. In fact, I distinctly remember a voicemail I received off an anonymous number in year 9 which told me that “no boy would ever come near me” because my “nose was massive and I wore a frickin’ Gola bag”. It was around this time that things really changed.

The bullying had led to some quite severe confidence issues for me, I had become incredibly withdrawn and was upset to look in the mirror. I tried to keep up with trends and ended up having to seek therapy as I was getting changed up to 6 times each day before I could leave the house. That was when I woke up with blemishes. I’d had small patches of Psoriasis on my elbows before but thought nothing of it as I hardly noticed them – but here I was, aged 15, looking into the mirror and seeing red patches appearing on my face. To the bullies’ delight, I would wear thick, dark foundation to cover them and my Mum quickly took me to the doctor – that was when I found out I had psoriasis. On my face, my chest, my scalp and in my ears. I remember the doctor asking me if I had recently been under any stress or upset. Thankfully, no-one seemed to notice at all and a little bit of steroid cream easily treated it and it disappeared after about 2 weeks – so I thought.

In my first year of sixth form it came back. Thick, aggressive plaques over my arms, back, legs and face. This time it really hit hard. There was days I refused to go in. I remember going into my Drama class and people asking what it was or if I was ill. That was the first time I told anyone that I had psoriasis. To my surprise, people were supportive – my friends would tell me that I looked pretty, like a leopard, and I found some peace in that.

When the psoriasis began to spread and the creams stopped working, the doctor sent me to a dermatologist who referred me for phototherapy. It was draining having to drive for an hour 3 days a week to stand in what just looked like a sunbed for 3 seconds (though this time gradually increased) but it worked unbelievably well. After about 6 weeks, the psoriasis was hardly noticeable at all and I was happy with my skin again.

It remained relatively clear for 4 years after that, until just after my 21st birthday when I noticed a small patch appear right in the middle of my chest that didn’t seem to want to go! I went through numerous big life changes and emotional upheaval and I knew what was coming. I am currently in the most severe flare I have ever had. I have psoriasis on my chest; arms, back, stomach, legs, scalp, neck, ears, vagina, breasts, nipples, bum – and I have no reason (or way) to pretend I don’t. This led to me making the decision that has changed my entire life!

In May, I created an Instagram account: @meadowsonmyskin – to document my journey with psoriasis. I aimed to uplift, inspire and empower other people like me who I knew would be suffering. I now reach out to others and set the best example that I can whilst showing that it’s okay to have a skin condition. It’s okay to not look like media models! I’m currently being referred for my second round of phototherapy which I hope will clear up my flare – but even if it doesn’t? Never mind. That’s my new attitude. I’m not ashamed to be me, I’m not ashamed of my skin. I have psoriasis, but psoriasis doesn’t have me.

Gráinne's Story

I'm Gráinne. I have guttate psoriasis. When I first discovered I had psoriasis, I was five years old and had just recovered from chickenpox, but I still felt like they were on my scalp. With a history of psoriasis in the family, it was easy for my mum and her sister to identify that it was psoriasis. This was easily controlled by putting olive oil in my hair overnight.

I wasn't until secondary school that it flared up over my whole body - but I controlled it with the steroid cream 'Dovobet'. Since then I've had six severe flare ups. When it starts, there are a few spots, and all of a sudden it spreads wildly over my whole body - and is always triggered by emotional imbalances or stress. The only thing that can help it is light therapy and Dovobet. Since third year, I've had 4 courses of light therapy. Within the past two years I've had three flare ups like this.

I am now 19, and my most recent flare up is my worst to-date. To have two flare ups within the one year is extremely upsetting and caused my mood to plummet, but I have never let it stop me from doing anything - I've had it long enough to not only accept it, but embrace it - and self-approval is so important. It is extremely difficult to live with - it's a physical and mental struggle every day - but it's imperative especially at this age not to let it interfere with what you want to do in life.

Jade's Story

My first encounter with psoriasis was when I was around 15 and developed red, sore patches of skin all over my back. When I visited a doctor about this they said they did not know what it was, but probably down to stress as I was doing my GCSEs at the time. I was given a cream for it, and sent away - no further tests, no second opinion and no diagnosis.

I thought nothing more of it as my skin soon settled and I never had any issues - until about 2 years after. The once red, sore skin had returned; only this time flaky, itchy and uncomfortable at around the time of my A-levels and moving into uni. It covered my back and spread to my elbows; and day by day the patches were growing. The slightest bump on my skin would leave it cracking and bleeding - even bending my elbows was incredibly uncomfortable. I consulted the doctors again, only to be seen by a nurse who had no idea about skin and got multiple second opinions - to which they suggested it 'might' be plaque psoriasis. With no idea or information about this, I quickly researched what this was, feeling lost and alone with no clinical support. However, with the prescription of a different topical treatment, my skin settled - but this time, it did not completely disappear.

Months I went on with this medication, however that became ineffective within 6 months and my skin had another flare. It was then decided I should be put on Enstilar; the strongest steroid spray/topical treatment I could be put on. Again, my skin responded extremely well at first, fading until almost completely disappearing. This time I lasted about 18 months before my next flare, where it felt like my skin was fighting back against the steroid spray. It was as if because I was stopping it from coming up in one place it would spread somewhere else. I was worried, my suspected psoriasis was spreading more than I could keep up with.

Again, back to the doctors. I wanted to be seen by a dermatologist and referred for further treatment. I had read about alternate treatments when the topical medications were not working and I needed to try and help my skin. Not only was it affecting me physically at this point, but also mentally. The doctors informed me it would be a 6 month + wait to see a dermatologist and even then I might not be guaranteed an appointment, so I decided to go private. The dermatologist provided me with medications to improve the scales and itching of the skin immediately and I had a referral to the NHS for light therapy within the week - again, I was informed there was a waiting list of 6 months but I simply couldn’t afford to go private for £30 a session, twice a week, for 30+ sessions.

To my surprise, about a month went by and I had my first light therapy appointment come through in the post! I knew it might not work, that there is no cure, but there was hope! And I had to try!

I am now 24 years old, currently receiving light therapy for my skin, the plaques have faded massively, and no longer become cracked, sore or bleed. I am on over 10 medications for my skin, but even if all I have is management and control over my skin without pain, I can live with that. I have accepted this is how I am and what I have to live with. But I understand how alone and damaging it can be to mental and physical health which is why I want to support others in their journeys too.

Jodie's Story

My diagnosis with psoriasis came when I was just two years old, so I have had it pretty much all my life. It started mainly as just small, red patches across my face and in my scalp, but with certain flare ups it would appear all over. Over the past 16 years my psoriasis has been kept calm by using endless amounts of creams, shampoos and scalp solutions, as well as light therapy when I was in secondary school.

In January 2018 I got tonsillitis for the first time and this was the trigger. Within 3 weeks I was covered, head to toe. There was barely any skin that wasn't covered in bright red patches. I was referred straight away to my local dermatologist, but due to the long wait my parents decided to take me private to get me some kind of solution. The private doctor was very helpful and pushed for me to be referred to a specialist dermatologist due to the severity of my skin. After a few appointments I was put on ciclosporin and am now being monitored every 3 months. This severe flare up happened when I was in year 13 studying for my A Levels. I was in constant discomfort and pain, as well as feeling like I was forever being looked at and commented on. Walking through the dining room at lunch or break all of a sudden became a nightmare.

Working as a receptionist at a trampoline park on the weekends it felt like I was forever trying to dodge people's looks and comments. There were always adults looking me up and down as if I was one big contagious mess! For 3 months I was completely covered and looking back I don't know how I got through each day, my confidence was rock bottom. It wasn't until I was invited on a birthday night out that I knew I wasn't going to let my psoriasis stop me from going.

Since that night I have gained a lot of my confidence and strength back, and I realised that me being embarrassed and upset about it wasn't going to change the fact that I have psoriasis. It's not going to suddenly stop affecting me, I've got it for life. Now moving on it's just about learning to deal and embrace life living with it. 

  • Georgia
  • Gráinne
  • Jade
  • Jodie

Kate's Story

I was around 10 when my psoriasis first came up. My mum took me to the doctor as she thought it could have been ring worm because it came up in a large red circle only on the side of my calf. Since then I have had plaque psoriasis on my arms, legs, shoulders, back, face, ears and scalp. Due to this, I was bullied badly in Middle School for looking different and it has made me very self-conscious of how I look and how other people see me.

I am only now, after 7 years, starting to finally learn to love myself for who I am and embrace the fact that I am different. It has taken me a long time to realise this, despite the constant support of my family and close friends. I do still have moments of insecurity but they go as quickly as they arrive now because of their support.

My psoriasis has had its own ups and downs. In the beginning it started off as plaque psoriasis and then in Upper School guttate psoriasis flared up because of tonsillitis. This covered my back, chest and neck. This again caused bullying until the flare up went.

Recently, I have had another flare up of guttate psoriasis, only this time it hasn’t gone down as quickly so I currently have the two types on my skin, but luckily only in the areas I already have plaques. This has been hard to deal with mainly to do with showing my legs in public as they are the worst affected area in terms of the coverage of psoriasis.

I have always been conscious of my legs because they have always looked worse but this is the worst they have been. I managed to pluck up the courage to wear shorts in public on a shopping trip to Portsmouth but it ended up making me feel very low afterwards because of how many people just stared at my legs and how obvious this made it. Even if I stared back at them they would just look at me and then continue to stare at me like I was an alien.

I had been building my confidence up for a while by posting pictures of my arms and then eventually my legs on my Instagram account to prove to myself that it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and all of that confidence took a massive blow after that trip. However, I got a t-shirt made up with my own slogan on it that gave me a boost as it made me feel like I had a shield against the stares and also the amazing support of my family, friends and boyfriend gave me the confidence to wear a skirt to school with no tights which I have never done since my psoriasis appeared.

I am also hopefully going to finally get on top of my skin by going on medication from the hospital that helps to stop my body attacking itself as much. This comes as a relief after years of trying so many different products. I recently worked out I have used over 30 products to try and treat my skin.

My advice to people who are struggling with anything to do with self-confidence over anything is to embrace who you are, everyone is different and unique and there is no such thing as “normal”. Be who you are and don’t listen to people who don’t accept you for who you are.

Lynn's Story

My name is Lynn, I am 15 years old. I was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 10.

When I was a little kid, I knew nothing about psoriasis and it didn’t affect any part of my life in the slightest. As I grew up, I started to learn more about it and I realised how it affected my life. I’ve never worn nail polish, and also my nails would get stuck in my hair and clothes. It’s hard to live with. And as I grew up, I started to notice the stares of people who saw a different skin type than theirs.

People were supportive except for a few. But I know that beauty comes from the inside, and I know that someday psoriasis will invade every part of my body. But this is what makes me different. This is what makes me special. I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t have the confidence that I have, if it weren’t for my condition.

Maddy's Story

Ever since I can remember I have suffered with psoriasis on my scalp. It used to be easily managed by shampoo and scalp lotion from the doctors.

As I got older my psoriasis got worse, to the point where it was becoming unbearable. I had it all over my scalp so I went to the doctors again and I was told it might not be psoriasis. Well what a setback that was. I thought I’d been wasting my time and energy in using numerous things that, of course, weren’t going to work if I didn’t even have psoriasis.

Following that I was given even more lotions and potions to try treating my ‘dermatitis’. Well, of course, none of these worked, and flared my psoriasis up even more! So another trip to the doctors it was…

This time I was reverted back to scalp lotion and felt pretty fobbed off and fed up. I felt that I had to just get on with it and cope with it as it was. Luckily for me I’m blonde so it wasn’t obvious I had psoriasis except the constant itching, but it was not visible! That was until it began to appear on my hair line and then could be seen. This was when it seemed to affect me most. I constantly worried, ‘what if?’ What if people think they can catch it? What if people think I’m contagious?

After feeling as if it was something I had to get on with, I plucked up the courage to go to the doctors. How wrong was I? I shouldn’t have suffered. I wish I had gone back to the doctors sooner but just thought I would be fobbed off yet again and would be wasting my time and money on prescriptions that weren’t going to work!

I also suffer with psoriasis in my belly button – the most painful thing ever! Again I was told on numerous occasions it was an infection. I was given antibiotics, antibiotic cream, steroid cream and it kept returning! I was told I had to stop using the steroid cream as it can only be used short term so, again, felt like a lost cause. Luckily I was given protopic cream quite soon after my problems becoming unmanageable and that has worked wonders and I use it regularly to keep my psoriasis at bay.

So recently I went back to the doctors, after suffering for months on end and letting it affect my life and self-esteem. Well what a successful appointment that was. I was given life changing treatments that have not only improved my scalp but also changed my life and boosted my self-esteem no end! It was the first time in a while I have been to the doctors and felt that I was listened to and came out with a positive outcome. I was prescribed calcipotriol and cocois.

I am training to be a children’s nurse currently, and I hope one day I can offer support and reassurance to children who feel how I did, like there was no way out and it was just something that we have to get on with, because it really isn’t! And until it’s controlled you don’t realise the impact it had on you!


Mia's Story

I'm Mia and I am 21 years old. Growing up I had no problems with psoriasis, with the skin condition only showing itself shortly after my 18th birthday.

I had just left home for the first time and moved to Leeds to start university, everything about the experience was daunting but shortly after moving I settled in. After a month of living away, I started to notice a rash on my arms. I presumed this was just caused by the stress of moving and decided to ignore it, hoping it would disappear. A week down the line, the rash was still on my arms and spreading on my legs. Before I knew it, all my arms and legs were covered in sore red flaky plaques.

I had numerous trips to doctors and received numerous different creams/steroids to try and help but none of them did. The condition has made a huge impact on my mental health. I was living in a city with new people, now with what I saw as awful skin. I presumed people would want to stay away from me because of this condition. I have suffered from both depression and anxiety since my skin began to flare. I know my psoriasis was a huge factor in the development of these mental health problems.

After living with the condition for three and a half years I am starting to accept it will always be there. I have recently undergone 8 weeks of UVB treatment which helped for as little as a month before my psoriasis came back.

I accept my skin as part of myself now. There will always be days I struggle with the condition and my outlook of it but I can now deal with that. I have luckily had the most supportive friends and family around me while I have been dealing with the mental side of the condition, who are there to pick me up on the days it gets me down.  

  • Kate
  • Lynn
  • Maddy
  • Mia

Mollie's Story

My name is Mollie, I am 22. I have suffered with psoriasis for as long as I can remember. The first time I remember it really affecting me I was about 13-14, sat in my English lesson and I just couldn't stop itching my elbows. I had never noticed anything before, well not that I can think of now, I just remember thinking it had all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere. My black school jumper was completely covered in white flakes.

It affected me more mentally than physically whilst growing up. I constantly felt like I needed to cover up no matter what the weather because people would always stare.

After one winter I ended up with almost the majority of the centre of my face covered with psoriasis. From this point on it spread like wildfire, patches all over my body, my face, my ears were completely covered, it began to literally eat away at my tattoos. I ended up with such a bad scalp and eyebrows that I started to lose a lot of hair and a lot of brow, resulting in bald patches. A person’s worst nightmare. The doctors prescribed me with Dovobet and another ointment for my scalp, which have both worked to a point. I have recently started to get it under my nails and I am currently waiting to see a dermatologist again.

I started freelance underwear modelling and, after seeing photos of my skin, after doing a portfolio shoot for a friend, I became obsessed. People thought that I was confident and comfortable in my own body and skin but in reality it was the complete opposite. I was obsessed with seeing the slightly photo-shopped version of myself, the version where my skin wasn't either flaking or bright red. That was how I wanted everyone to see me because that is how I thought I was supposed to look... That is the version we see of people on TV and in magazines, right?

It has taken A LOT of time but I have finally begun to accept that it is part of me now, this is who I am. I do not need to be airbrushed to look at a photo of myself anymore, I do not need filters to hide. I am comfortable in my multiple layers of skin, regardless of the many negative comments I have received over the years because I do not match their idea of perfect.

I have to thank my family, close friends and my partner, they have never acted like it does not exist; worried it will upset me but have taught me to learn to accept it; motivated me to use my creams and ointments even when I feel like it is hopeless; made me feel beautiful even when I really haven't felt it. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and, to anyone else that suffers with psoriasis, you are beautiful too. I wouldn’t be me without psoriasis. 

Nakita's Story

Hi, my name is Nakita and this is my psoriasis story.

I’ve always had something wrong with my skin, even from a very young age. I had severe eczema at the age of 3 and I can still remember the pain I was in when it was bad. Every time someone touched me it felt like my skin was on fire. After a while it settled down and eventually went. 

Later on in life when I started secondary school, I was in PE class when I noticed this dry red ‘spot’ on the back of my leg, so I ignored it and didn’t think anything of it. I then noticed that I had a few dry bumps on my scalp. The following week I noticed another one of these ‘spots’ appear, so I went to my mum about it where she then booked me a doctor's appointment. My doctor took a good look at my skin, diagnosed me with psoriasis, and gave me a steroid cream to try out, but then it rapidly spread from my legs up to the bottom of my back. At this point it wasn’t severe at all, it was only minor.

After a few months of applying the cream, my psoriasis settled down a lot but my scalp was still quite bad, so I went to the doctor's again and got prescribed shampoo and solution to apply to my scalp. Everytime my mum applied the solution I would scream the house down (not literally) - it felt like someone was squeezing lemon juice into an open wound. I can’t even describe the pain I was in. We went through countless bottles of shampoo and solutions but nothing ever cleared my scalp up so I just ‘sucked it up’ and carried on with my life like usual.

As you can imagine, having psoriasis in secondary school totally sucked. By the end of year 9 I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, as well as trying to treat my psoriasis. It was hard but I kicked its butt and I pulled through it! 

And then... in my first year of college the psoriasis came back, and it came back biting! I didn’t want to leave the house, I thought this is the worst I’ve ever had it. I did some research and people have said online that the sun/sunbeds have helped them, so later that year I started having sunbeds and I could not believe the result - after 1 month it had all practically gone! I can wear t-shirts again!!! So I then stopped sunbedding, and kept moisturising my skin so it didn’t go dry again, and it was all good for about 8 months. 

I got admitted to hospital this January with septicemia due to an infection in my kidneys and it almost instantly came back. I thought it couldn’t be as bad as it was when I was in my first year of college, but boy was I wrong. I had never ever seen anything like this before. It was all over my back and there were a few ‘spots’ on my chest but nothing compared to my back.

I went back to the doctors after I recovered from having septicemia, and my doctor told me it has flared up because ‘my body has just gotten over a serious infection and infections can cause psoriasis to flare’. My doctor called it ‘guttate psoriasis’ (I didn’t even know there were different types of psoriasis). At this point she then gave me Eumovate cream to try, alongside more shampoo. I continued to use these as directed by my doctor but, a couple of weeks later, I notice it has started spreading and getting worse on my chest. I also notice that my face is now covered in red patches and dry skin. It hurt to even smile.

Yet again, I went back to my doctor and she gave me this magical cream for my face called Hydrocortisone. It worked wonders for my face, but you’re not allowed to use it for a long period of time so, of course, I eventually ran out of it recently and it has started to come back on my face again. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get as bad as it was again. My doctor also gave me this ‘foam’ called ‘Enstilar’ to try on my skin. It has slightly worked by calming it down but I have recently noticed that new ‘spots’ have appeared on my chest, neck, legs, arms and back. 

When I first had psoriasis I never thought it would be this bad. I have tried so many creams over the past few years that I haven’t mentioned because I can’t remember the names of them, but only a couple have calmed it down. Would I say psoriasis has affected me mentally? Yes, 100%. I used to feel comfortable in my skin and I used to feel pretty when I put make up on, but now, no matter how much make up I put on, I still feel ugly. No matter how much foundation I apply to my skin, you can still see the psoriasis under it. I have massive white scars on my neck and shoulders from previous psoriasis outbursts, that people tend to stare at.

So what I have learnt is, don’t try and hide your skin condition - it is your skin and no one else’s! Sometimes I wish I could talk to someone else who understands me, and understands that going to bed with mittens on isn’t weird because you scratch your psoriasis in your sleep to the point where you have to change your pyjamas because there’s blood all over them. Or someone who understands that you don’t want to leave the house today because it’s really bad and you can’t cover it up with long sleeve tops and a bit of foundation anymore. 

I finally have an appointment to see a skin specialist at the end of this month (April) where hopefully I will be entitled to the UV treatment. I have been waiting for this day for years!! 

Thank you so much for taking your time to ready my story about psoriasis. For all of you beautiful people suffering with the same problem as me, you are not alone in this, we can do this! 


Aged 19. 

Olivia C's Story

My name is Olivia Cheshire. I am currently 19 years of age. I was diagnosed with auto-immune disease about 10 months ago now. For years before I was diagnosed I was every month in and out of the doctors with infections on my hands. They thought it was ring worm. And I was constantly given antibiotics. I was going to work every day with cotton gloves on and doused in Aveeno or Fucibet cream.

They then wrote to Dermatology and asked for me to be seen. When I was seen I cried so much because finally we were getting somewhere! I hadn’t quite prepared myself for what they were going to say. And on that day I was diagnosed with psoriasis and alopecia and auto immune disease.

I felt relief yet upset. They explained there was no cure for auto immune disease and that I would have to have treatments to try and help. I underwent 15 weeks of light therapy having to go to hospital twice a week for treatment. This took its toll as the weeks went by. I got to the highest dose very quickly and then I started to blister with every treatment. The psoriasis didn’t go away and kept getting infected again which delayed treatment because of the open wounds.

From the day I was diagnosed I had to go to bed every evening wearing cotton gloves covered in creams. I felt so abnormal. At 19 years old I couldn't go out and be like the rest of my friends because I needed to be home to do my cream routine. My mum has to wash my hair because the pain of shampoo in the wounds was unbearable. When the nurses told me we were stopping light therapy due to it not working my heart broke. I felt like we were back to square one.

I am now on Ciclosporin 100mg a day, it’s not cleared completely but I can manage it so much better! Psoriasis in 2019 over took my life. I felt abnormal, self-consciousness, broken. I used to be scared of paying for things in case someone felt disgusted having to give me change on my bleeding weeping hands. I used to cry every night, why me. I used to cry about not being able to do normal things.  But this year I am accepting psoriasis is a part of me. It’s not going to go away completely. It will always be there. But it makes me who I am. It’s made me strong.

Olivia M's Story

My name is Olivia McCoy I was 19 when I first got a psoriasis, I’ve had it for a year now. It was about 1 year ago the first psoriasis patch came underneath my boobs and chest when I was on holiday with my boyfriend. I thought it was a reaction to something I’d ate or just some sort of sun burn. However, when I got home and showed my mum she knew it was psoriasis as she was one of the worst case children in Liverpool when she was a baby and has had it her whole life. She always prayed I wouldn’t get it but sadly I did.  It was just before I was going back to my second year of university and I think the fear of the unknown got to me knowing I was moving out and all of the assignments coming up...

Starting back at second year was tough, such a big step with so many assignments and the pressure was getting to me. My mum and dad tried to put off telling me that my dad was diagnosed with cancer as they didn’t want me to stress even more. I felt like my world had shattered and I didn’t see the point of anything, the stress of university, moving house and psoriasis. It covered me from scalp to toe, sometimes my hair would even come out, which being a 19 year old girl isn’t ideal. I just felt like giving up.

We went to the hospital first and the nurse gave me a cream which didn’t do a thing, she said it could be ringworm but we knew is 10009 percent wasn’t. It got worse, scaly and flaky and red raw, this resulted in an angry mother and another trip back to the doctors. They then provided me with stronger topical creams like Dovobet gel, this was great for calming the scale and would cool it off, however it did sting like mad and it just made my hair so greasy and wasn’t actually getting rid of it. I was really down and my scalp/ hair was CONSTANTLY greasy and wouldn’t ever dry with the amount of oils I had in my hair to heal the scalp.  (I have plenty of girl problem stories to share that hopefully people can relate to)

It got worse and worse to the point where my body would hurt to move. I was in pain, and couldn’t even get to sleep as it would hurt lying on it.

People tried to give me advice but it was so easy for them to tell me to relax when you just can’t, they say you still looked “perfect “even though you know they were just lying. I never went out, I literally locked myself away, my boyfriend was so supportive but I still felt so insecure as I didn’t want him to think I was ugly. Eventually, after lots of trips back and fourth to the doctors, I was sent to get light therapy for a 12 week course where I would go every Monday, Wednesday, Friday- this was also a pain as it was the last few months of university and the deadlines were coming in. Eventually the course ended and it went down a lot, however it hasn’t ever officially went away and I still have the white scale marks.

l decided to train my mind, to get up and be productive, I researched what helps psoriasis and decided to try my best to cut out dairy and replace milks with plant based milk and eat as many greens as possible which really helped and also helped me lose weight. I try to have a clear mind-set and focus on things as this can have an impact on your skin.

I would love to share my story and journey with psoriasis to young girls especially like me who are in the same situation and let them know it does get better, I feel like especially now a days with social media influencers and body image it's so hard to feel confident, but as long as you are happy in your own skin nothing else matters and I want to teach people to love the uniqueness of it and learn to love themselves.

  • Mollie
  • Nakita
  • Olivia Cheshire
  • Olivia

Rhianna's Story

Hello, my name is Rhianna and I’m 17 years old. I began my psoriasis journey when I was just 11 years old. I remember waking to red, angry patches covering my body, that felt like a paper cut. I was confused and that’s the least I can say.

Weeks before I discovered I had psoriasis, I had moved to a completely different town, hours away from home, leaving behind family, friends and memories. It was a positive new start for me, well that’s what I thought. I hated it! I used to reassure myself that it will get better soon. I became emotionally drained.

I had no idea that psoriasis even existed until my dad reassured me that he also suffers. My confidence was non-existent. I remembered myself being this positive, smiling young girl who had no worries. I stopped doing the things I once loved like socialising and even going to school. I became just blank like a canvas. I lost myself.

I had to undergo PUVA treatment which gave me hope in finding myself again. The treatment left me drained and unmotivated. I had my first experience of sleep paralysis due to how drained I was with the early morning travels to a different town. My face was covered in painful burns. I just felt helpless and sorry for myself.

It was suggested that I talk to someone professionally to just talk. My confidence slowly came back as I began to write my feelings in a book. My psoriasis became unnoticeable from the strong treatment and I just reconnected in general.

Most people with psoriasis will know the struggle of feeling not good enough in your own skin. It’s the learning how to deal with that thought. Accepting your flaws and just being confident. Show strength to those who doubted you and forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the pain you’ve put yourself through. 

Tom's Story

Hello everyone! My name is Tom, I’m 23 and I have psoriasis. I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 18 but in hindsight I think the signs of the condition were there from a much younger age…

I was fortunate enough to go to a wonderful school with a fantastic ethos surrounding education and involvement so I never really suffered from bullying or name calling. However it was very apparent to all that I had particularly bad “dandruff” often showing up very prominently on my dark uniform. Despite the inclusive and friendly nature of school I still felt that I needed to brush off the flakes at regular intervals to prevent people thinking it had been snowing outside! Even though there was never an issue it was something I was very conscious of, especially when people were offering advice on shampoos and methods for tackling it. Nothing seemed to work, and I remember wondering why I seemed to be the only person who also had dandruff in my eyebrows.

Being a typical teenage boy, I didn’t really care about my appearance. I rarely used to stare at myself half clothed in the mirror, so it was only when on a family holiday (aged 16) in southern Italy that my Mum noticed a small red patch developing on my lower back. Being the “doctor phobe” that I was I didn’t really listen to Mum’s concerns as it wasn’t affecting my quality of life. It did start to become itchy though, especially straight after sport but I left it, hoping it would disappear.

In my final couple of years of school, the patch grew larger and larger and I started to feel self-conscious about taking my shirt off. This was a big problem given I adore sport (especially rugby) and so getting changed for rugby, swimming, water polo, athletics etc. did become a little awkward for me. I bottled it all up and didn’t speak to people about it, constantly hoping it would all just go back to normal (whatever normal is). Although a little self-conscious, my school days were brilliant, and the psoriasis hadn’t really shown itself yet. Retrospectively though, the warning signs were there.

Aged 18 in my first year of University was when the real problems started. Whether it was the general stresses of leaving home, beginning a new part of my life, or the excesses of my newly found love of alcohol, in the first term of university I had my first “flare-up”. Initially I kidded myself the little red patches that were developing on my body were from rugby and the general grazes and knocks that come along with the sport, but when my scalp and face started to become red, sore and itchy I knew there was an issue. Some of my fellow players thought it was “scrum pox” from rubbing my head on others in the scrimmage and mauls but I thought it was time to seek medical advice.

I was almost immediately diagnosed with psoriasis and the doctor gave it to me straight. “It’s a condition that has no cure and you’ll have it for life. It’s just about managing it." Although it was great to have a diagnosis, it really knocked me. I can remember phoning home quite upset knowing it would be a constant presence in my life and feeling very insecure. I felt quite isolated not knowing anything about the condition or anyone else with it.

After this diagnosis my skin only seemed to get worse with various creams and gels seeming to have little or no impact. I started reading about it online and cutting things from my diet (with varying results). One time in the summer of first year my skin cleared up for a few months (when I was in Australia) but then the psoriasis came back worse than ever before with reddening of my skin and scaly flaky plaques appearing on almost 50% of my body.

This rollercoaster of treatments and flare-ups continued through my second and third years of University and it was quite a difficult time for me. There were good times like playing rugby and enjoying beers with my friends, and I was always lucky enough to meet lovely and understanding girlfriends. However, there was also lots of awkward times in my studies and my personal life especially with people commenting on how sunburnt I was or cracking jokes about my skin. Often, I think it was because of a lack of understanding rather than with any real intent, but their words did hurt, and I did feel extremely self-conscious of how I looked. My family and friends at this time were superb and especially amongst the boys I lived with were very understanding. However, outside the house I became a bit of a night owl. As obviously at night in dark clubs and bars etc. you couldn’t see my skin, so I felt more confident and I felt I could act like everyone else and this was bizarrely where I felt most comfortable. Obviously that’s not really how you should live.

At this point I started making friends with some more people who had the condition at University and started to really engage with the literature online surrounding other people’s experiences. I found reading about other people really helpful and it allowed me to have the confidence to start talking about it more myself. The reason I’m detailing my experiences for the Psoriasis Association’s ‘50 for 50’ is because I know how valuable reading other people’s experiences is to me and I hope that with increased awareness and exposure everyone suffering with the condition will get some confidence, the way I did. It’s no secret that poor mental health is linked with psoriasis and anything that can be done to reduce this impact, through exposure and education I fully support.

Now the good part…

Just as I was finishing my first degree I finally found the right treatment for me and this was a massive turning point in my life. The Enstilar foam is something I use almost daily, and it is the right treatment for my skin. All the plaques decreased rapidly just from my first treatment and even if I have a bad flare up it softens their appearance. Having a skin condition like psoriasis that is so visual can be very damaging to your self-esteem and mental health so finding something that worked for me was incredible and I couldn’t be more thankful for every day that goes by now with my skin looking like everyone else’s. I think the plaques are often magnified in our own heads when we have flare-ups but to have something that I can use to combat them makes me far more confident and I think that’s what it’s all about. Being comfortable in your own skin. My final year at University was fantastic and after lots of peaks and nadirs it was great to leave University on such a positive note doing all the things I love doing surrounded by people I love.

Finishing University earlier this year meant now having the time to commit to UVB treatment, which I’m currently undergoing. When I was in Australia my skin improved vastly so the Doctors thought UVB would work well, which it has. The light treatment is working wonders with my skin and especially in regions that are harder to manage just with my Enstilar. With the UVB, Enstilar foam, and confidence I now have talking about my skin, I couldn’t be happier. Almost the exact opposite of how I felt a few years ago. My skin now looks fantastic, but even if in the future I do have flare-ups I hope that with the increasing exposure and education on the condition that hopefully people who also have psoriasis (and other skin problems) will find the strength to manage it and become confident in their own skin.

Thank you,


  • Rhianna
  • Tom

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