Instagram taught me how to love my skin and myself
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. Thanks to being forced into a lockdown that made me change the way I saw myself. Here’s how I’m learning to love my skin.
My struggle began early on in childhood
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. I used to feel jealous. 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 would sometimes spend hours crying about it, and dreaded meeting new people as I saw their eyes staring at my skin. What I would do was 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.
It felt like I didn’t have time to properly care for my skin and that I didn’t deserve the self-care. I had neglected it 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.
Lockdown was the first step into learning to love my skin
But when lockdown first happened, I couldn’t wait to work from home and spend more time treating my psoriasis. I started 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”. I began to love myself and my skin without makeup for the first time ever.
This was about the time when 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 then, as the sun faded and the winter came, I felt anxious. How I was going to cope in the cold weather with the heating being constantly on?
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 my skin and myself in the summer was gone. The skin under my breasts had become sore. And my eczema had returned to my arms. I could barely look in the mirror again.
It’s a mindset change
Instead of being sad, I decided to try and celebrate it by taking pictures of my natural skin and posting them on my social media accounts. It was one of the most nerve-wracking things I had done. It felt like I was revealing myself to everyone.
Only a handful of people even knew about my skin, let alone seen it. I had messages from people saying that they had no idea that I was dealing with psoriasis. They were 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. I love my skin.
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.
My name is a Georgia, I have struggled with eczema my whole life and psoriasis for about 6 years which started on my scalp but spread to other parts of my body. Everyday, I’m learning new ways to love my skin.