Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that affects 2% of people in the UK, and causes patches of incredibly itchy and dry skin.
It’s due to an overproduction of skin cells – normally, the skin cells are created and replaced every 3-4 weeks, but in those who suffer from psoriasis, this process only tends to take 3-7 days. This creates the scale-like bumps across affected areas, and is especially common on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, although it can affect other areas too.
There are other forms of psoriasis, as well as the most commonly-known manifestation. There’s plaque (large lesions covered by silvery scales), guttate (smaller spots covered by a fine scale), inverse (covering joints in smooth patches of red skin), nail (found under the nail which can cause the nails to loosen from the nail bed), pustular (pus-filled blisters), erythrodermic (can cover your entire body in a peeling rash) or psoriatic arthritis (causes painful swollen joints). Plus, the medication used to treat the condition can have a number of difficult side effects.
Many celebrities have spoken about their psoriasis diagnosis: Kim Kardashian was famously diagnosed with psoriasis during one episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and often posts a photo of an outfit where a patch of dry skin can be seen.
Model and actress Cara Delevingne, another high profile psoriasis sufferer, doesn’t shy away from exposing her flare ups on the runway or the red carpet.
It’s commendable that celebrities are open about having psoriasis – or any skin condition for that matte – and it certainly help to raise awareness and normalise the condition. But they don’t offer much insight into the daily experience or the raw realities of the skin condition, which can often be totally debilitating. As well as the physical symptoms, psoriasis can also affect confidence, self-esteem and become stressful to manage.
It’s for this reason why it can be particularly helpful to anyone with psoriasis to have access to a candid yet caring account of another person’s experience. Here, we round up the very best Instagram accounts to follow for a show of solidarity, tips for treatment and words of wisdom to help you through a flare up…