If you had told me that amongst the uncertainty and the rollercoaster that was 2020, that I would learn to love my skin… I would have never believed you! But that’s what happened, thanks to starting an Instagram page where I could connect with other people in the psoriasis community. And thanks to being forced into a lockdown that made me change the way I saw myself.
How it all started
It was six years ago when I discovered I had a dry scalp. It was embarrassing. I’d worry about flakes and having my hair up, but it was manageable. Then I began to notice more patches. Slowly, my psoriasis had spread to my forehead, the top of my back, and under my breasts.
I hated looking in the mirror and I couldn’t help but compare myself to my friends; and feel jealousy that they didn’t have to worry about how to have their hair or what makeup to wear to cover the patches on their forehead. I was jealous of their perfect skin.
I would sometimes spend hours crying about it and dreaded meeting new people as I saw their eyes staring at my skin. I would try to bring it up casually in conversations before anyone asked me about it because I couldn’t deal with the embarrassment. I would try to explain my condition my way and I felt myself trying to justify why I looked the way I did.
The feeling of not having time to properly care for my skin and that I didn’t deserve the self-care grew. I neglected my skin because it felt like no matter what I did, my psoriasis was still there and that wasn’t going to change – this was the hand I had been dealt and I now had to lead a life of awkwardly covering my skin and dodging questions. I neglected my skin because I didn’t love it.
Fast forward to 2020
But when lockdown first happened, I couldn’t wait to work from home and spend more time treating my psoriasis by not putting makeup on and absorbing the sun in the back garden. And it worked. My forehead cleared to the point where I looked and felt “normal” and I began to love my skin and myself without makeup for the first time ever.
This is about the time where I started my psoriasis Instagram after finally finding a safe place and people who were going through the exact same thing. Until then, I genuinely thought I was the only person in the world who was going through it. But as the sun faded and the winter came, I felt anxious about how I was going to cope in the cold weather with the heating being on constantly.
My face got to the point where it was the worst it had ever been with red patches speckled across my forehead and hairline. That love I had had for myself in the summer had gone and the skin under my breasts had become sore and my eczema returned on my arms. I could barely look in the mirror again.
Instagram helped me love my skin
Instead of being sad, I decided to try and celebrate it by taking pictures of my natural skin and posting it on my personal social media accounts. It was one of the most nerve-wracking things I had done as I felt like I was revealing myself to everyone.
Only a handful of people even knew about my skin, let alone see it. I had messages from people saying that they had no idea that I was dealing with psoriasis and saying how brave I was. That was the turning point when I started to believe the things that people were saying to me. I started to change my mindset and realize that my condition is unique. It was something that made me different and it was part of me. I was being the person that my teenage self needed – someone talking openly about their skin struggles.
Now, I don’t mind looking in the mirror as much and I don’t mind going outside bare-faced. My skin is a part of me, but not all of me.
If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that life really is too short to worry about some red patches on your skin and that your uniqueness deserves to be celebrated.
Georgia is an eczema sufferer since birth and more recently, plaque and guttate psoriasis for the past 6 years. She’s has found quite a community surrounding psoriasis on Instagram, and now she’s also documenting her journey, and creating a space where she could share tips and experiences with other sufferers. She’s raising awareness every day, and trying her best to learn and love new things about her skin.