By Rebecca Drew
THIS BRITISH woman reveals the secret to combating the skin condition psoriasis she has suffered with since she was 13-years-old by ditching steroid creams in favour of nourishing her body from the inside out through a strict vegan diet.
Waitress, Jessica Belshaw (20) from Torpoint, Cornwall, UK, first noticed spots appearing on her torso when she was 13. As she could easily cover them up, Jessica didn’t tell anyone until she had a serious flare up when she was 15 which affected her whole body when she was diagnosed with guttate psoriasis.
By covering up, even in the height of summer, Jessica avoided negative opinions from outsiders unless her skin condition was affecting her hands, when she would notice that people would move away from her.
Jessica stopped using steroid creams a year ago in favour of natural healing as her skin was dependent on them to stay clear and when she didn’t use them she went through steroid withdrawal which made her condition flare up and even more painful. Feeling more confident than ever before, she eats a vegan, gluten free diet, packed full of raw foods and rarely touches alcohol. Yoga and meditation have also helped Jessica control her stress levels which minimises the chances of an angry flare up.
“I think I was about thirteen, I used to have these spots on my torso but they would come and go and I could cover them up so I never told anyone,” she said.
“It was when I was aged fifteen I had the biggest flare up and I was covered head to toe, and was then officially diagnosed with guttate psoriasis.
“I really felt at my lowest point. I would try and cover every inch of my body even if it was in the summer.
“I would constantly look at old pictures of myself when I had clear skin, and would even start to look at my friends and just thought they didn’t know how lucky they are and how lucky I was. I felt I took a lot of things for granted.
“Because I covered up so much of my skin not many people reacted but on the occasions when I got psoriasis on my hands, when people would clock on they would instantly move away from me and would ask if what I had was contagious and even when I told them that they couldn’t catch it as it was an auto immune disease they would still keep their distance which was a horrible feeling.
“I used to use steroid creams but they were the worst and I went through a major steroid withdrawal. I have now been clear from steroids for almost a year now and treat my psoriasis with natural healing.
“I eat a completely vegan and gluten free diet, I eat a lot of raw foods and leafy green vegetables. I drink plenty of water and rarely drink a lot of alcohol now. I give myself ‘me’ time everyday and practice yoga and meditate twice a day to keep my stress levels down and just to give me a good perspective on day to day life.”
Guttate psoriasis causes small drop-shaped sores on the arms, chest, legs and scalp. Mostly affecting children and teenagers, it usually disappears after a few weeks but some people end up developing plaque psoriasis.
Jessica, who is currently travelling in Australia, posts her psoriasis journey on Instagram under the handle, @nourished2health and says that it was a campaign on the social media platform called #getyourskinout that inspired her to embrace her natural skin.
“I really am so grateful to have such supportive people in my life. Especially the friends I have met travelling they inspire me and more to embrace my unique skin to the world,” she added.
“My first advice would be acceptance, accepting who you are is the first stage in order to love who you are and heal your body. Nourish your body and start from the inside out, making changes to your diet to see improvements on your skin.
“It does take a bit longer to see improvements on the outside but you will feel completely different on the inside which will make you feel determined and strong.
“Self-love. Really love who you are as person, give yourself affirmations everyday look in the mirror and recognise your beauty as a person. Find an activity which you love and practice it as often as you can.
“I know this one sounds like a cliché, but it is okay to have bad days as your bad days will influence the good ones and your journey towards your healing.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/nourished2health