Skin


Since the age of twelve, I’ve suffered with a skin condition called psoriasis. It has honestly made my life hell; from being bullied throughout my school years because people thought I was a “dandruff monster” to not letting anyone – except my hairdresser – touch my hair. It is astonishing to think of the impact that having healthy, clear skin has upon one’s confidence. Before I even continue, I want to make a clear distinction between dandruff and psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a skin disorder caused by your immune system that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered by thick, silvery scales accompanied by a burning sensation. It can occur almost anywhere on the body, whilst dandruff is caused by naturally occurring fungus/yeast and is the shedding of dead skin cells on your scalp.

I have psoriasis all over my scalp, elbows , my left knee, parts of my face/neck and flares up on my left hand.  It’s worse on my scalp. It’s itchy, painful and not very nice to look at. It’s something that I am very self conscious of as I have very dark, heavy hair which makes it even more noticeable. For many years, I have been very very reluctant to even discuss this topic – it’s even very difficult to write about it today. I have my good days where it’s not so bad, but then I have days when it flares up so badly that it affects my confidence for the day.

Psoriasis is a very common skin disorder with up to 2- 3% of the population in the UK suffering from it.

Today was quite a bad day. I’d covered my hair with a makeshift turban/wrap to prevent my skin flaking and to resist the urge to just scratch and make it worse. When this happens, I usually shy away and stay indoors, but today I had to go out and run some errands for my grandma. I remember the mini pep talk I gave myself as I put my coat on: “It’s not that bad, you can’t see anything” to “Oh my god what if people go all UKIP on me?” In all honesty, I was more worried of people calling me the latter – there aren’t that many ethnic minorities in my town.

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So off I went! I got weird looks, naturally, people avoiding to make eye contact, giving me dirty looks and walking away. Unfortunately I had a middle aged man shout abuse at me from his car window. I’m not going to repeat it because it is very upsetting. I hated how vulnerable and scared I felt – I’ve never walked down the street with my eyes glued to the pavement with a sinking feeling in my stomach. A part of me wanted to rip off the scarf, justify why I’d covered my hair and let everyone see how bad my scalp was. But the more rational part of me knew better than that.

Why should I have to justify that? Why should anyone have to justify what they choose to wear? We shouldn’t have to do that, just to make others feel comfortable?  I find it ironic that the sight of a woman with her hair covered infuriates people more than a topless one on Page Three. When I got home I was very upset, but now I just feel disappointed at the cruel narrow mindedness of some individuals. I’m proud of myself for the way I got with a simple errand despite feeling so scared and so self conscious of myself. But would I do it again? I’m not so sure.

 

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10 thoughts on “Skin

  1. FFS. I can’t decide if I’m more angry or more sad to read this. Was reading about the psoriasis, didn’t give a thought to you covering your head & then completely shocked by the reaction.

    I suffer with psoriasis on my scalp and face too. Sometimes I just want to cover my face! Imagine that reaction!

    I’m sorry you had to go through that! 😦

    Tomorrow is gonna be a better day 🙂
    xx

    Like

    • Thank you for reading it and for leaving a comment as well!
      I can completely relate to that feeling: when my psoriasis flares up I just want to hide away from the world and stay in my room.
      It was a nasty double edged situation; I either went out and got rude stares for the skin flakes or covered my hair with a scarf and still get the same reaction (although I was not expecting to get heckled).
      What do you use to combat scalp psoriasis? I find that in the winter, it gets worse! Feel free to email me at: avidscribbler1@gmail.com
      Yes: tomorrow is always going to be a better day.
      Thank you for commenting; it has really lifted my spirits x

      Like

  2. Who was this awful creature who shouted abuse at you?! Probably a degenerate lowlife with little vocab and little exposure to anyone who isn’t the same as him. I pity such small-minded folk.

    I also have psoriasis and agree that it be challenging at times with dark(ish) hair! Have you tried seeing a nutritionist to see if they can help? Sometimes the symptoms can be aggravated by certain foods.

    Non-sulphate, ‘organic’ shampoos and conditioners reduced the itching significantly for me too and still do to this day! I couldn’t use other products now. Akin, Naked, Neal’s Yard and Avalon are all brands I have used with success.

    Most importantly of all, reduction in stress helped. Relaxation techniques and learning to let go of the things that aren’t a priority has made me feel more emotionally balanced, which in turn, has lessened the bad skin days.

    You aren’t alone.. 🙂 *HUGS*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment. I have been so touched by the comments and support that everyone has shown.
      I definitely am not alone and it feels so reassuring to know and feel that.
      Agreed! Having dark hair and scalp psoriasis are not the one! I also use non-sulphate shampoos but will definitely check out the ones that you’ve suggested 🙂

      Stress is a very big part of it – I’m still working on ways to combat that.
      *hugs* back, thank you. x

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  3. Kudos to you, Chayya for pulling it off with confidence and courage!
    I often come across americans in my university, calling out names and passing racist comments to international students for their poor communication skills and ability to express. But I always tell them why can’t you empathize with those students and help them. Being in academic institution of high repute, I feel purpose of education is to mitigate ignorance amongst people and make them more aware but I see things happening exactly opposite which makes me sad at times.
    Let others do what they want..One should feel confident about his/her outlook and should not worry about what people might think of you and your actions!! And we should try to teach people to empathize with others because we have the gift of both East and West, and we can better understand the situations.

    ~ Harry

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    • Thanks for reading and leaving a comment as well 🙂
      It is shocking to see such behaviour in academic institutions; I think we all expect them to behave better because they are “educated” but ignorance permeates all levels of society.
      I remember seeing the same thing when I was university; I once challenged a group of boys behaving like that but it fell onto deaf ears.

      Empathy is a huge part of the solution; you’re absolutely right. I think we’ve lost that part of ourselves: being able to understand and be compassionate towards each other is a massive part of what it means to be human.
      I can only hope that things improve and that one day, such things won’t matter as much.

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  4. Being a Sikh, when my parents, uncles and aunts came to the UK, they got abuse but it didn’t stop them dressing the way they did. If we started listening to sh1theads telling us how we should dress or behave then we might as well pack up and go home.
    Should you wear the headscarf again? Of course you should.

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    • Thanks for reading and leaving a comment (I’ve missed reading them!)
      True that is very very true; I hated how vulnerable and scared I felt the whole time I was wearing it.
      And you’re right: we shouldn’t have to justify whatever it is that we choose to wear.
      I feel apprehensive about wearing the scarf (naturally) but hopefully if I ever wore it again, I would be more confident

      Like

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