By Rebecca Drew
THIS stunning British psoriasis sufferer is on a mission to show that being different isn’t something to be scared of after spending much of her teenage years hiding her skin condition.
Student and blogger, Louisa Sadler (20) from Hereford, UK, was first diagnosed with psoriasis at 12-years-old after her cut elbows never healed when she fell off a bike. Ignoring her ongoing wounds for months, just putting them down to clumsiness, Louisa finally visited the doctor who told her she had psoriasis.
Louisa thought she would grow out of the condition over time and put pressure on herself to cover up whilst at school, only telling her closest friends. Now, she has embraced her skin condition, saying it doesn’t define who she is and approaches the subject ‘straight on’ when meeting 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 whilst handling this new skin condition. I found myself covering it up more often than not with the clothes I wore and only a select few people knew about it,” she said.
“I have always been the person to bring up my skin to new and old friends, perhaps that is due to me wanting to avoid a potentially negative response so have chosen to approach the subject straight on.
“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. Doing this allowed them to ask me questions about it 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 is over more of my body than its ever been. I realised that everyone I knew saw my personality and what I was creating with my art before they saw my psoriasis, in fact most of them never really noticed anything different with my skin as I didn’t particularly act like there was anything wrong.
“When it clicked that my psoriasis is in fact a part of me, but it 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 my psoriasis and want it to disappear, but the space between those days has definitely increased.
“I always felt that I had to make such an effort with my appearance because I had something to hide and what once started as a love for make-up, began to feel like a chore and something that frequently made me upset because my skin wasn’t flawless.
“One day, out of the blue, I chose to post a photo on my Instagram of me wearing no face make-up. It was one of the first days I felt like I could walk outside and not worry about what strangers would think, and that I didn’t need to wear make-up if I didn’t want to.
“What started out as a small post primarily for the people I knew, but not necessarily well enough to tell them individually about my psoriasis, 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 me 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.”
Louisa tries not to use too many prescribed treatments on her skin, occasionally applying Dovonex and Dovobet directly to her psoriasis but favours Liz Earle’s hot cloth cleanser and switches up her moisturisers and foundations regularly.
Despite suffering from her condition for almost eight-years, Louisa still doesn’t know what triggered her psoriasis but knows what causes it to flare up.
“People say that their psoriasis was triggered when they went through a stressful period in their life, but I can’t say the same. Although at twelve you feel like life is tough and the world is against you, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened,” she added.
“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.
“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 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. So, if anybody reading this does have psoriasis I want them to know that although it may effect elements of your daily life, it doesn’t effect 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.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/lssdlr_