Hi Gillian, Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Gillian, I’m 26, and I live in Glasgow, Scotland. Before pandemic, I was working at an airport, and I play guitar in a local band. I’ve had Psoriasis for about six or seven years now. I also have a secret love for the film Dirty Dancing.
When were you Diagnosed with Psoriasis?
I can’t actually remember; it took a couple of years to be diagnosed. At first, it appeared on my scalp and forehead, and the doctors put it down to dry skin. I kept going back to the doctor, as there was no improvement. It was only when patches started appearing on the rest of my body that they diagnosed it as Psoriasis.
What do you think caused it?
I think for me, it was mainly genetic. My dad told me that my gran also had Psoriasis. So I’m guessing it was passed down to me? But it’s kind of nice to know that I’m not the only person in my family with the condition.
What Foods do you Avoid?
This is new territory for me to be honest! When I was first diagnosed, I wasn’t made aware that diet could have also had an effect on my Psoriasis. It’s only through online accounts/communities like OffPsoriasis that I’ve found out about the impact certain foods can have. At the moment, the only food I avoid is pineapple, but not for any specific health reason, just not a pineapple fan.
What Foods do you Eat to Heal?
If I have a bad flare-up period, I’ll usually try to increase my fruit and veg intake during that time. I try and drink more water and cut down on the sugar (easier said than done). Not sure if it physically improves my flare-up, but making an effort to eat a bit healthier definitely helps improves my mindset towards it.
Do you avoid gluten, and what do you think about Gluten sensitivity in Psoriasis?
Again, I’m completely new to the dietary stuff, so I’ve not tried going gluten-free yet. I suppose if there’s evidence to link gluten sensitivity to Psoriasis, then it’s worth giving it a go!
Name your top 3 Triggers.
- Stress or anxiety – my Psoriasis seems to get a lot worse when I’m anxious or worried about something.
- Weather – Scotland doesn’t really have the sunniest /warmest climate. I get flare-ups more in winter, too. When I went to Greece last year, my skin ended up almost completely clear, so a bit of sun definitely seems to help.
- Clothes – maybe not so much a trigger, but some tops/shirts annoy the life out of my Psoriasis. I need to be careful about what I wear because some materials make my skin feel super itchy and uncomfortable.
My go-to for fighting flare-ups is taking a bath with Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts. It really helps calm my skin down. I have steroid creams prescribed for my Psoriasis that I use, but I also carry about a normal store-bought moisturizer. I find it helps to have a wee bottle handy, just to try and keep any flare-ups at bay if you’re out and about.
What would you tell those who are newly diagnosed and looking for answers?
I’d follow any medical advice given to you by your doctor, but it’s worth checking out the online community too.
There’s a lot of support out there and a lot of positive online accounts. It also helps knowing that other people may have had similar experiences and can share advice or tips. It’s a learning process; what works for other people might not work for you and vice versa. Don’t feel pressured into treating your Psoriasis using a certain method if something else works better for you.
It can be quite an isolating condition, but please remember that you’re not alone, and don’t let it diminish your confidence. Your skin is amazing, it just has a bit more of a story to tell.
Find out more about Gillian’s Journey on her Instagram page @gillybeanz100