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Building Your Confidence

Written in partnership with LEO Pharma

It’s easy to let psoriasis take your confidence, and that’s me talking from experience. I’ve had a long battle with my confidence throughout my psoriasis journey.  Confidence isn’t something that comes to me naturally. I’ve definitely had to work hard on it throughout my years with psoriasis. I mean I have worked hard to get to where I have with my confidence, but me as a person, I’m generally an introvert that has to push myself out of my comfort zone. It takes time for me to be comfortable and confident around certain people. And I do blame psoriasis for this part of my personality.

But I constantly have to remind myself that psoriasis shouldn’t take away my confidence nor should it control me. So here are some of my tips on building my confidence and the things I keep reminding myself to do:

1) Take baby steps

Take your time – there’s no rush, and take it at the speed you want, you’re the driver.  The smallest of steps can make the biggest changes in you building your confidence.

2) Set yourself goals

Be realistic. Push yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Even if it is as simple as going to the shops in a short sleeve t-shirt (well I guess this is simple to others, but not so much for people with psoriasis).  Don’t say no and don’t let your psoriasis stop you. One of the goals I had set myself when my confidence was really low was to sit outside, in a t-shirt, for half an hour. Once I was confident in doing that, I set myself the goal of being able to sit around in a t-shirt more at home. And your goals can become progressively challenging as confidence starts to build up.

3) Spend some time doing the things you enjoy

You’re most likely to stop thinking about your psoriasis (even if it is for a little while) when you’re doing the things you enjoy. So go swimming, go to the cinemas; meet your friends or whatever it is that makes you happy. Being in a happier place will help you to boost your confidence.  I enjoy reading and baking (I’m no expert!) and just generally spending time with friends and family.

4) Spend time with people you enjoy being around

This leads on from my previous point. Be around the people that are going to make you feel comfortable and you can let go and have a good laugh with. They’re more likely to send positive vibes your way and that will help in boosting your confidence.

5) Get involved with the psoriasis network

It’s easier to take those baby steps (tip #1) with people who are going through a similar journey to you. Getting involved with the psoriasis community makes you realise that you’re not alone. Yes, you can talk to your friends and family about your psoriasis. And yes, they’ll empathise with you, and show you their concern and care, but I know they will never truly understand what it means to be living with psoriasis, and the mental struggles it can cause. So making psoriasis friends, even if it is just across the internet does help you to break down that guard.

6) Don’t let your psoriasis define you

Separate yourself from your psoriasis. I constantly used to remind myself that my skin didn’t make me who I was. When my psoriasis was at its worst, I found it hard to think of myself as someone without this skin condition. I thought that everyone thought of me as ‘the girl with psoriasis”. But I now know that that is wrong and you have to keep telling your mind that your psoriasis doesn’t define you. There is more to you than your psoriasis. Focus on those aspects that your friends and family love about you.

7) Be open about your psoriasis

Opening up about your psoriasis really allows you to let go of the constant stress of hiding this part of your life. Tell people how your psoriasis makes you feel. Remember – you are allowed to feel emotional about it.

8) Embrace your psoriasis

I know I always say this in all of my blogs, but it really is the key to gaining your confidence. Wear your psoriasis and scars with pride. There’s more to you than your psoriasis, so let people see that as well. Push yourself to have your psoriasis on show. It will be hard at first, and it’ll definitely be harder for some than it is for others. But you’re more likely to attract more stares and reaction (not always necessarily bad reactions, remember some people are just curious) if you’re always covered up, because people won’t expect you to have a skin condition. Whereas if it’s out in the open, people just get used to it and it no longer becomes ‘a big issue’.

9) Think about your positives

Focus on the positive things in your life, rather than the negatives. Think about the things that are going well for you, and things you may want to achieve and accomplish. Focus your mind on how you can achieve those goals. Focus on the things you’re grateful for in life. What helps me keep focused and motivated is creating a mood board with pictures of the things I would like to achieve in the next five years or so.

10) Wear the clothes you feel comfortable in

Wear the clothes you want to wear, and embrace the fashion style you want to embrace. This will generally help make you feel more comfortable in your skin, and allowing you to come across more confident and happier. It also forms a distraction from your psoriasis.

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My Top Tips, Products

Facial Psoriasis

By far, facial psoriasis has been the most difficult and frustrating to deal with.

  1. Because it’s on your face – everyone can see it!!
  2. Not only do you have to understand it like the psoriasis anywhere else on your body, but you also have to learn how it’ll behave with different make up and facial products.

You’re also very limited to the products you can use and how often you can use them. Even moreso, it’s frustrating to deal with in the colder seasons because it dries up as soon as you step out the house!

Typically, my facial psoriasis appears around my eyebrows, along my hairline and forehead, and around my nose. I have a VERY red nose that has a mind of its own! And no matter what I do or try, I can’t seem to get rid of it unfortunately. There was a time when my facial pso was extremeeeeely bad, spreading from cheek to cheek and across my forehead. Sadly, I don’t have any photos. I could barely even look at myself in the mirror at that time, let alone take a picture of myself.

My facial psoriasis has been the biggest confidence knocker and definitely added paranoia to my life. I would flinch every time I looked at myself in the mirror, or even in a window reflection. I would hate leaving the house. I would hate being in the sun or in places where there was bright light. But touch wood, my face is a lot better now. And it has definitely been a long journey of trial-and-error.

There are four main things that help me maintain my facial psoriasis:

1.Exfoliating

Exfoliating my face at least twice daily helps to reduce the scaling build up and flaking. Especially in the mornings as this also provides a smooth face to apply my make-up onto.  Be gentle when exfoliating as you’re more prone to irritating your skin and making your plaques sore (I’m guilty of that…)

2. Find a soap a suits you

Personally, I like to keep my bathroom products as natural as possible. So I use Black African Soap, which is packed with natural ingredients and herbs, such as aloe vera, shea butter and many vitamins. Natural products are less likely to irritate your psoriasis, especially as psoriasis on your face can be a little more sensitive.

I usually just buy a bulk of these of Amazon, and they’re really cheap!

3. Stick to liquid forms of make-up 

I find liquid or creamy forms of make-up much easier to handle and more accommodating towards a psoriatic face. They sit better on my skin and provide better coverage.

I will do another blog post on the types of make-up products I use.

4. Use oils 

IMG_0395Oils helps keep the skin hydrated. I literally smother my face in oils just before I go to sleep and then a small application in the morning straight after I’ve exfoliated. This prevents the psoriasis from drying up after it’s touched water, and slows down the re-build of scaling.  Applying straight after exfoliating also provides a good base for my make-up application. I have been using Sukin Skincare oils – they are amazing! 

I hope these tricks work on helping you manage your pso x

 

Raising Awareness

The ‘Psoriasis Top 10’ Survey…

As a member of the Psoriasis Priority Setting Partnership, we want to hear from you to help to identify the gaps in psoriasis research, which you feel are really important. Not only for your friends and family, but also help shape the treatment and service delivered from healthcare professionals.

You have the opportunity to direct future research by completing a quick online survey

 

 

 

My Top Tips, Stress

Exams, Stress & Psoriasis

Stress is known to be a common trigger for a psoriasis flare-up, and any form of stress will cause my psoriasis to break out. Last year, when I was finishing off my undergraduate degree, my skin went through its worst due to the stress of final exams and assignments. I have spent the last three months writing up my Masters thesis and this time round, I was determined to not let my psoriasis take control. I’m not going to say don’t stress, because that is impossible! I have, however, found ways in which you can reduce or control your stress. My blog post for HelloSkin shares my tips on how to handle heavy work load, stress and psoriasis.

Click on the following link to view my 8 tips: Exams, Stress & Psoriasis

About Me, Psoriasis In General, Raising Awareness

10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Living with the condition psoriasis doesn’t come with a manual. It takes time to learn and understand how your psoriasis works and what is best for you through ‘trial and error’. It took me a long time to figure out what works well for my psoriasis and what doesn’t, and to be honest even after having the condition for 14 years, I am still educating myself about my psoriasis.

In a guest post for LEO Pharma, I talk about the 10 things I wish someone had told me about psoriasis. Click on the link below to have a read! 🙂 xx

Psoriasis- 10 things I wish someone had told me

Products, Summer

Summer Legs

The Magic of Make-up…IMG_7329.JPG

As a result of suffering from severe psoriasis, I have scarred and pigmented skin (aka ‘psoriasis shadows’) from all the treatments I have used over the years. For a long while, I have really struggled with the whole “confidence thing”, especially when it comes having my legs out during the summer months or on nights out. I would walk through shops, thinking ‘I wish I could wear that dress’ or see other girls wearing dresses and skirts, looking so carefree and always thinking ‘I wish I could just walk out the house in a dress, not have to worry about my skin’.

Anyways, to cut the story short, I recently invested in a bottle of Sally Hansen Leg Makeup after reading lots of reviews online,  and I’m actually really amazed at the wonders it has done for me. For the first time in so many years, I have been confident enough to wear a dress and walk out the house without being paranoid about my legs. It doesn’t guarantee you full coverage, but does give a nice layer, blurring out the pigmentation and scars, so they’re not as noticeable. I have been using the medium glow shade.

So if you have been struggling to cover your scars/pigmented skin, I highly recommend this product. Also, the directions on the bottle suggest that you spray it into your hands, then rub it evenly onto your legs. However, that didn’t really give me good coverage when I applied it like that, so instead I sprayed it directly onto my legs, and then blended it out evenly. The picture below shows the difference with and without the spray applied.

FullSizeRender
Left: with Sally Hansen leg makeup. Right: without makeup
My Top Tips, Psoriasis In General, Raising Awareness, Stress

Dealing with the emotional stress

Living with psoriasis can have a major psychological impact on a person and bring a mixture of emotions to your life. Psoriasis can make you feel very low at times as well as embarrassed, angry and frustrated. It can also make you very self-conscious, depressed and feel socially unaccepted.

Check out my top tips on how to deal with the emotional stress of living with psoriasis by clicking on the link below- a blog post I did for LEO Pharma UK:

LEO Pharma: Top tips to help with the emotional stress of living with psoriasis