By Rebecca Drew
THIS YOUNG British woman is embracing the psoriasis that looks like red spots covering her whole body after spending years hiding the condition for the outside world.
Waitress and aspiring actress, Georgia-Elizabeth Harris (21) from Driffield, East Yorkshire, UK, was first diagnosed with psoriasis when she was 15-years-old after she noticed white plaque had formed on her ear and after suffering with earache, her doctor confirmed that she had psoriasis.
At first, Georgia’s skin condition didn’t bother her as she would hide patches on her face with makeup and she would wear layers to cover her arms and legs – especially in the summer as she would fear the reaction from others. Tired of feeling ashamed of her body, she chose to embrace her condition to be the psoriasis role model that she needed when she was younger.
Over the years, Georgia has tried various different treatments from creams, ear sprays and shampoos to overnight treatments, but says staying moisturised is the most important factor of her skincare regime, she recalled how she first discovered she had psoriasis.
“I actually found out I had psoriasis in a really peculiar way! I knew that I’d had eczema since childhood and suffered from dry skin but I remember being at school and having an itchy ear. I ran my finger around the inside and felt something dislodge – it was a full white plaque that covered my entire finger,” she said.
“At first I thought it was shampoo and was horrifically embarrassed, so quickly did the other ear – it was there too. I suffered from earache for a while afterwards and went to the doctor – by this point I had strange red blemishes on my face too, when he looked in my ear, around my hairline and over my face he said he thought I might have psoriasis.
“It was easily concealed with makeup and I didn’t really experience any flaking. But a few months later my face and arms broke out in aggressive patches – it was easily treated with cream, but I was horrified. I had always been quite image-conscious, and had been bullied a few years before that about my appearance – I was terrified it would happen again.
“I noticed a few people looking, and if I hold my hands up I think I probably pulled a few sickies – but it was over quickly and I didn’t see it again until the first year of my A-levels.
“I was tired of feeling ashamed or embarrassed of how I looked! In the middle of summer I was wearing layers to cover up and I was uncomfortable. I realised that there were thousands of people like me, not just with psoriasis but other conditions too, who would be feeling the same, and I wanted to make a difference to them.
“My mantra has always been to be the person I needed when I was younger, and that’s why I do what I do.”
Stress has the biggest impact on Georgia’s skin, causing it to flare. Despite feeling confident in her skin most days, she says that she does still struggle with her condition but channels her energy into being a good person instead of her physical appearance.
“Though there are days where I look into the mirror and am devastated by what I see – I try to look beyond what I see in the mirror,” she said.
“I always tell people that beauty radiates from within and I like to hold that sentiment closely. I try to be a good person, kind and gentle – and use my experience to empower and uplift others. That to me is far more important that my physical appearance, though I’m learning to accept that too.
“My friends and family tell me every day how proud they are of me. Those that have been there for the majority of my life have seen the dips in my confidence over the years and know the detrimental effect bullying about my image had on me, so for them to see me be open with my insecurities rather than trying to conceal them is a big thing.
“To the thousands, or millions of people like me – please don’t ever be ashamed. You are not your skin. You are many things. You are beauty, intelligence, selflessness, creativity, strength, hope, power – the list goes on, but you are not defined by your skin.
“You have psoriasis, psoriasis does not have you.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/meadowsonmyskin