Bryony Bateman, Psoriasis & Beauty Blogger and Westlab Ambassador, talks about how she manages her psoriasis.
Tell us your psoriasis story…
In 2011, when I was 16, I first developed a rash but didn’t think much of it – I had googled my symptoms and thought that it could be psoriasis, but as it didn’t affect my life much I wasn’t too concerned. The ‘rash’ was a little annoying but went away after holidays or a few sessions on a sunbed. It was until 2014 when it flared up badly and started to impact my life more. My skin was super red, itchy and painful all over my body which was what led me to go back to doctors to finally get a diagnosis.
What do you do when you feel a psoriasis flare up coming on and how do you stay positive?
It's very hard to not stress when you know that you're flaring but to really have a good, understanding support system around helps so much. My family, friends and incredibly supportive boyfriend are always there to reassure me that I've been through the worst, that I'm strong and I can fight it. It helps knowing that I’ve been through bad flare ups before and beat them, so I can do it again! So really, staying calm, just chilling out and knowing that if I stress it gets worse usually makes me chill out.
Are there any skincare habits you would advise people to take up or avoid if they have psoriasis?
This is a tricky one because I try not to let psoriasis impact my life to the point that I have to avoid things, but over the years I've naturally stopped doing things or using products that I know will irritate my skin. For instance, I don't have hot showers or baths, I only have warm or cool showers or baths because I know hotter water irritates my skin. I don't use any fragranced body washes or moisturisers - those body lotions that come with perfume are a no go! Other than that I don't change too much, it’s really about finding what irritates YOU personally and if it does it's not worth using or doing.
Have you noticed a connection with what you eat and your psoriasis?
When my psoriasis was really bad I cut out wheat, gluten, dairy, nightshades, sugar, alcohol and red meat. Literally everything that it suggested online to cut out made a slight difference. I think as I was eating much healthier I didn't experience a much itching, but it didn't make my psoriasis go away!
For me alcohol was a huge irritant. I cut that out ages ago now and don't intend on ever drinking alcohol again. It was like poison for my skin, I would wake up SO itchy and in a lot of pain so it just wasn't worth it!! Also, now I never have hangovers… so it’s a win-win!
Have you had any experience with psoriatic arthritis?
I personally haven't but I suspect I might do in the future. My mum has just been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis so I've been researching more into it in an attempt to help her. She has very achy, inflamed, swollen and painful joints especially in her feet, ankles and hands. She often feels stiff and fatigued but has found that bathing in Westlab Epsom Salts has really helped.
Bryony’s Dos and Donts for managing psoriasis:
- Get clued up on psoriasis. Research it and talk to other people with it as you never know what others managing it can teach you.
- Bathe in Dead Sea Salts! They help so much. They prevent itching and can really help with the itch/scratch cycle.
- Find a moisturiser that works for you, one that you will actually use and apply daily.
- Use your support system. Your friends and family are there for you to depend on when you’re struggling!
- Watch my YouTube videos or follow me on social media, as I'm always here if you need to ask questions or have a chat. @Bryneenee
- Stress out about it as this will make it worse.
- Fall for bogus psoriasis 'cures' - there is not a cure for psoriasis. Anything that claims to be a cure isn't going to work, but we can all find ways of managing it.
- Be ashamed or embarrassed about your skin. Learn to love and accept the skin you’re in!
- Expect treatments to work overnight. These things take time, so be patient and keep up your routine and you’ll see improvements.
- Be tempted to keep itching and scratching. If you do this in your sleep, you can try putting socks on your hands to stop yourself.
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