Woman, 25, covered in psoriasis bravely bares body – I refuse to hide any more

A woman is bravely sharing snaps of her body covered in psoriasis as she refuses to "hide" from the world any longer.

Claire Spurgin has spent years covering the red flaky patches of skin out of fear people would point at her.

But now aged 25, Claire has finally accepted her appearance and is sharing incredible photos of her body to show other sufferers they are not alone.

The junior sommelier, from Essex, told the Daily Star: "When I made this Instagram, I felt like I wasn't hiding anymore.

"It’s taken me years to accept my skin and to not be petrified to wear a bikini at the beach. I was in constant fear someone would point at me… and they would!!

"I was shocked at how many people would openly ask ‘what’s wrong with you?’ At that time I was so embarrassed but now, I understand they were just unaware and curious".

Claire was diagnosed with psoriasis – an autoimmune condition that incorrectly tells skin cells to grow too fast – in 2017.

The condition causes excess skin cells pile up on the skin's surface, resulting in red and flaky patches of skin.

Claire said: "When I first got it I was definitely self-conscious. I was 19 and you worry about your appearance a lot more at that age…

"You could have the psoriasis gene in your body but you might not have psoriasis until it's triggered.

"I had sunburn on my shoulders and that was the trigger of my psoriasis, the sunburn never healed, my shoulders just got a lot dryer and then I had the other dots that appeared on my body. Then it kept spreading and spreading."

It took a year for Claire to be diagnosed by a skincare specialist as doctors were initially baffled by the symptoms.

The body positivity advocate explained: "In the beginning when I was going to the doctors, they didn't know what was going on with my skin.

"It was back and forth for a bit and then I reached a point where I had just had enough so decided to go to a skin specialist.

"I'd spent all of this money on these creams that didn't work and then as soon as I went to the specialist they knew instantly that I had psoriasis. That's when I started the light treatment."

This light therapy is known as ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy, which is recognised by the NHS.

"The light treatment is a bit like sunbeds. You go to the hospital, you stand in a lightbox and the UVB rays help to calm down your psoriasis," Claire explained.

"I was going three times a week and I had 40 sessions. My skin was really stubborn, the course was extended and my skin calmed down a lot but my psoriasis soon came back."

Unfortunately, there is no current cure for psoriasis, so it's all about managing the condition on a day-by-day basis.

To help ease the pain and itching, Claire has a strict skincare routine.

"I can't just get up and go, I have to make sure I do particular steps. I have to use particular body stuff and moisturiser," she said.

"I often talk about the Lush Dream Cream Body Lotion and that's the product that I swear by."

She also uses the Tony Maleedy Juniper Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner, a Lush shower gel, Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash and the Body Shop Vitamin E Moisturizing Face Cream.

"Personally I find treatments are a short term ‘fix’. Steroid creams work, but as soon as I stop, my psoriasis is back. The light therapy did work eventually, but again, my psoriasis came back," she said.

"I was always holding on to the hope that the next treatment would keep my psoriasis away so when it didn’t, I was gutted.

"My emotions were up and down and it was exhausting! I learnt how to soothe my skin and now I’m happy with how it looks."

Even though the skin condition is a constant battle, Claire is determined to not let it defeat her.

She started sharing candid photos of herself on Instagram, where she has more than 13,000 followers.

Claire said: "[My followers are] really supportive, they follow the page because they're curious, whereas on TikTok you can get the meaner comments.

"People often think that it can be cured, sometimes people ask me 'Why don't you fix it' and people often assume it's bug bites or hickeys."

While Claire may have received negative comments here and there, she regularly receives support on Instagram.

"You are amazing, keep up the positivity. As a person who has psoriasis too your page has been so uplifting," one person wrote.

"You are such an inspiration. I wish I had this confidence when I was younger and my skin was much worse," someone else commented.

"I was covered too but back then, before the internet, I had never met anyone else in my life with psoriasis. I felt like a freak but not anymore."

A third person added: "I love your posts, your strength is amazing and your ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other is an awesome quality."

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