The 20-year-old first developed the debilitating skin condition on her chest aged 16, and initially believed the psoriasis was just a bug bite or a spot.
But when the condition spread all over her body and face, she was diagnosed with guttate psoriasis, leaving her feeling “exhausted and lost” as she searched in vain for a cure.
Despite visiting five different dermatologists and trialling a range of steroid creams, the psoriasis shattered Sophia’s self-confidence.
In her desperation, Sophia describes to the Mail how she would wake up at 6am to cover up her spots with concealer, foundation and powder to make it through the school day.
Although she began cutting out dairy, gluten and alcohol in an attempt to heal her skin, the vegan diet was difficult to maintain when she started at the University of Albany.
In a world filled with impossible beauty norms, learning to love our bodies and all their perceived imperfections is a continual work in progress. So when a story comes along of a woman who is defying societal exceptions and celebrating her body on their own terms, we’re totally here for it.
Now we can add Sophia Chen, a student athlete from Colorado who is embracing her psoriasis, to that list of women inspiring us on the daily.
The university move did bring about positive change in another form though, as Sophia’s new roommate and college friends encouraged her to embrace her natural skin.
“My roommate loved how unique it was and she told me that I looked like a cheetah,” Sophia the Mail.
“Some people would say “do you have vitiligo? That’s so cool, your skin is beautiful”. The more I heard it, the more I started to believe it.
“One of my friends said they look like constellations on my skin. Another guy I met said that my spots were ‘sexy’.
With the support of her friends, Sophia rebuilt her self-confidence and started to love her body for the way it is.
“Now, I absolutely love my skin. It sure can get annoying when it’s itchy, but when it’s not, I love it. Especially when it starts to heal, and it turns my tanned skin white – I love the look of it.” Get it girl!