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Fashion, psoriasis and me

Girl with psoriasis head in hand

This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.

In a world where social media takes up a large part of our social lives, how you present yourself online says a lot about you. This is true right now more than ever; all our social interactions are now online. What kind of posts do you have? Are they funny or serious? What interests do you have?

Whilst I’m sure that many people out there don’t really care but fashion takes up a large part of our social media feeds. I’m not just talking about fashion as in what the models are wearing, I mean our own personal styles. Whether you like vintage pieces or athleisure, your style says something about you. Finding fashion that you adore is hard enough but when you also have a skin condition it can be even harder.

Fashion aspirations

When I was younger I wanted to dedicate my life to fashion; I would sit and design outfits for the runway. I’d get my mum to buy me Vogue every month, even though I never found any of the stories interesting. There was something about the lavish lives of these journalists that made me want to pursue my interest for fashion.

The more I became absorbed into the glamourous world of fashion, the more I realised how it wasn’t really for people like me, with a skin condition. Every page, from cover to cover, showed clear, poreless skin. Whilst I knew it wasn’t the model’s real skin, it made me feel worthless. I could wear the most expensive clothes and my skin would mean I could never fit into what fashion called ‘beautiful’.

Like most people with psoriasis, I tried to cover it up as much as possible. It’s hard to cover scalp psoriasis but I covered the rest of my body. I would wear turtlenecks and jumpers to cover the psoriasis that was slowly crawling up my torso to my neck. I would wear dark colours, hoping that it wouldn’t make the psoriasis as obvious. I avoided red as much as possible. No red or pink makeup, that would just make the psoriasis on my scalp more obvious. I was confining myself into a small box simply because I thought fashion was what magazines showed, and my skin was most definitely wasn’t a part of that.

Learning acceptance

It wasn’t until I stopped caring about those Photoshopped people in magazines, that I learned to accept myself. To start to love ourselves, we must stop consuming everything that taints our thoughts negatively. I stopped buying fashion magazines, I stopped following beauty influencers and started to consume media that didn’t exclude me. I started following other people posting about their psoriasis, and soon learnt that the community of people with psoriasis online was one of the most welcoming and caring communities out there. I was finally starting to learn that looking like this was perfectly fine.

As soon as I started to accept my skin, the way that I presented myself was growing too. I started wearing more patterned clothing. I started to feel better in what I considered ‘fashion’. I stopped caring about what was an important trend, that would disappear as fast as it appeared on the shelves. I started buying clothes showed my personality. I started to wear more vintage clothes, loving the retro fashion. Finally feeling that I could wear what I wanted without worrying about my skin.

My psoriasis style

Whilst these changes were amazing for me, I would describe it as dipping my toe in the water. I can look back now and realise those were just the few sparks that started the fire. Over the past 2 years I’ve tried many different styles, including dying my hair bright red. An interesting choice and something I would never have tried before. Red hair to clash with my scalp? That would have been a nightmare for me. But now it’s simply something me and my friends laugh about, simply because it did look rather ridiculous. I felt free to see what fashion mean to me, and it wasn’t that!

I have also had times where my psoriasis has almost cleared on my body, leaving only faint marks of where the islands of red skin used to be. As it would be for most people, it gave such a large confidence boost. I started looking how I always wished I could look. But oddly, losing my psoriasis made me feel as if I was losing a part of who I was, and a massive part of the appearance which I had started to love.

Psoriasis had made me grow so much as a person and without it I felt like I was no longer me. Instead I was someone who fitted in perfectly. It was something I had wanted for years but as soon as it happened, I missed having the cool patterns on my body. Psoriasis had become a part of what I had considered ‘fashion’, as much as others would consider animal print fashion.

Loving yourself

When it came back I felt I was me again but this time round I wouldn’t be fighting my psoriasis, I would simply coexist with it. Since then my idea of fashion has changed. I’ve started wearing pink, whether people think it looks good with my psoriasis or not, so much so that half of my wardrobe is now pink. I have embraced psoriasis as a part of my style, rather than trying to wish it away.

It’s taken me years to get to this point. It’s a slow process, you don’t just wake up one day and suddenly think ‘You know what? My skin does look cool!’ It’s years and years of telling yourself that loving your skin is better than hating it and engaging with positivity on social media, it helps us to see ways to love yourself.

In a world where the fashion industry profits from your insecurities, loving yourself is the only way to tear down the unrealistic standards we hold for ourselves. The industry promotes the ‘love yourself’ movement through material goods, while only using skinny, airbrushed, able-bodied models to show happiness, but you don’t need a self-help book and a face mask to love yourself.

Loving yourself comes from within, not material items. Loving your style comes from tossing aside the fast fashion industry and wearing what you feel confident in. Fashion isn’t what celebrities wear or what’s in magazines, it’s whatever you love wearing. The whole point of fashion is to be unique, to stand out of the crowd, and I’ve learned to love that my psoriasis is unique. My psoriasis is as beautiful as a designer dress and just as fashionable, because I get to decide what is fashion to me, just like you get to decide what is fashion to you.

So, go out and wear your psoriasis spots as if they’re designer, after all confidence is the most beautiful thing you can have.

Article developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.

MAT-34764 May 2020

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