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Animated image of Amy holding a pencil in one hand and a notebook in the other with psoriasis spots on her cheek and arms. Back button icon
 

Amy

34

English Teacher

Left quote in blue I don’t let my skin
stop me from
doing anything. Right quote icon
Animated image of calf with running shoe and sock on foot and psoriasis on calf

How it started

When I was around 16 I thought I’d been bitten by an insect, I had a really itchy patch of red skin on my calf. My GP told me it was eczema but it spread up my leg, kept getting thicker and flaking.

Animated image of psoriasis on the elbow

My symptoms

I get really dry and thick patches of red skin, especially on my elbows and knees. They feel really sore and itchy – it can be so hard not to scratch if I’m flaring up.

Animated image depicting various body parts affected by psoriasis

Areas affected

I usually get patches on my legs, arms and torso. It spread to my back on my last flare-up too.

Animated headshot of Amy, case study subject

Amy

Left quote in blue

I was already self-conscious and worried about my looks, so the thought that my skin problems could get worse, spread, and could be with me on some level forever devastated me. I felt helpless, scared about the future and what people would think if they saw.

Right quote in blue

Challenges I've faced

but the clothes rubbing against me really hurt and made them bleed more. I now keep them uncovered when I’m at home. Hiding them made me feel embarrassed and ashamed, especially in summer. It was freeing to work past that, but it took time and also CBT therapy to get over some of my anxiety and self-esteem issues.

it was really challenging to overcome my fear of people seeing my skin, and I was worried they would freak out, not wanting to be in the pool with me. After ‘taking the plunge’ (sorry for the pun…) I realised people were more curious about me rather than finding me unattractive, and more concerned with their own looks. My main worry with swimming now is the chlorine irritating my skin, so I always make sure to shower and moisturise as soon as I get out. Applying some emollient before going in also stops my skin drying out so much.

where people have asked me if my skin is contagious. It really affected me at first, but I learned how to explain what psoriasis is and assure people they can’t catch it. Kids at my school have been harsh or asked really personal questions too, but by then I’d got my script learned off by heart. It usually makes people feel more comfortable, and I feel like I’m helping the community by spreading awareness about the condition!

different creams and some changes to my lifestyle, and also light therapy when it’s been at its most severe. I always got frustrated at those times – I was doing everything I could to look after myself and it just kept on getting worse. I know there are always options now no matter how bad it gets. I massively value the time I have when my symptoms are mild or gone, but I also do my best not to get stressed when they come back so that doesn’t make it worse.

Animated headshot of Amy, case study subject

Amy

Left quote in green

Dealing with psoriasis hasn’t been easy. It’s taken a lot of time to find out what works for me and to feel comfortable in my own skin. I used to let it stop me from going about my life, but I refuse to let it get in the way anymore. I really hope the challenges I’ve overcome inspire others to try and overcome theirs.

Right quote in green

My top treatment tips

Small white triangle upside down

For more useful information about how psoriasis is treated…

My top lifestyle tips

I get lots of sleep,
so my skin has time to heal…

Visit the lifestyle page for more useful information

10 things to do
to look after yourself

* This case study has been anonymised. We interviewed multiple people with psoriasis. The content has been created primarily from the experiences of one person, however we also included some other interviewee experiences. This was done to reduce the chance of the respondent being identified and ensure a range of experiences and advice important to our interviewees were reflected in the content.