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Updated 26 January 2018

‘Being different isn’t something to be afraid of’

This stunning psoriasis sufferer is on a mission to show that being different isn’t something to be scared of.

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After spending much of her teenage years hiding her skin condition, this stunning psoriasis sufferer is on a mission to show that being different isn’t something to be scared of.

Student and blogger Louisa Sadler (20), from Hereford in the UK, was first diagnosed with psoriasis at age 12 after she’d fallen of her bike and the cuts on her elbows wouldn’t heal.

Louisa ignored the wounds for months, putting them down to clumsiness, before she finally visited a doctor who told her she had psoriasis.

It’s a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches. It’s thought to be an immune system problem triggered by infections, stress or cold.

Louisa thought she’d grow out of it in time and put pressure on herself to cover up while at school. But now she’s embraced her condition, saying it doesn’t define who she is, and she approaches the subject “straight on” when she meets new people.

“At the time I was diagnosed I was also beginning to go through puberty, so I felt I had this additional pressure of having to look a certain way while handling this new skin condition,” she says. “I found myself covering it up with the clothes I wore.”

Only her close friends knew about her condition.

“For many years I only told my closest friends, who I knew wouldn’t treat me any differently. However more recently I’ve started opening up to more people.”

She says by being open about it, it allowed people to ask questions and spread the word about psoriasis.

“Compared to my younger self I feel so much more confident now, which is bizarre because at this time in my life my psoriasis covers more of my body than it ever has.”

Louisa says she soon realised people noticed her personality and artistic talent before they saw her psoriasis; in fact most never really noticed anything different about her skin.

“When it clicked that my psoriasis is in fact a part of me, but doesn’t define who I am, I was able to be a lot more comfortable with showing it off.

“That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have down days where I feel I don’t know how to handle it and want it to disappear, but the space between those days has definitely increased.”

Louisa says she’d always felt she had to make an effort with her appearance because she had “something to hide”, and what started as a love for make-up started to feel like a chore.  

“One day, out of the blue, I chose to post a photo on my Instagram of me wearing no make-up.

“What started out as a small post primarily for the people I knew turned into a flood of people getting in contact with me to share their stories.

“It hit me on that day that I wasn’t the only one out there with psoriasis, and that by sharing a small part of my experience I could help so many other people to at least begin to open up to someone about their own skin.”

Despite having suffered from psoriasis for nearly eight years Louisa still doesn’t know what triggered the condition – but she knows what causes it to flare up.

“What I do know is that when I’m tired, haven’t drank enough water and on occasion wear tighter-fitting jeans, my psoriasis definitely flares up and is particularly sore and itchy,” she adds.

She says she hopes to inspire people by sharing her personal experience because when she was growing up, she didn’t have anyone to talk to.

“When I was younger all I wanted was to see someone else with psoriasis and for them to say that it doesn’t define them and that it won’t define or change me as a person. I also wanted someone who was more in the public eye to help me find out what to do and how to handle it because I felt very isolated due to my lack of knowledge.

“Unfortunately I didn’t have that. So I want to be that someone. If anybody reading this has psoriasis I want them to know that although it may affect elements of your daily life, it doesn’t affect who you are as a person.

“Being different isn’t something to be afraid of; it should be embraced and although it may take time to get to that point the journey to there is what makes you become a stronger person.” 

Source: Magazine Features

Pictures: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

 
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