Those are the facts but they tell you nothing about what it’s like living with a skin condition few of us understand.

It can be devastating for self-esteem and change the way you live your life.

You may be turned away from swimming pools, avoid friends, not leave the house because people (wrongly) think you’ll “infect” them.

This comes after a survey by the National Institute for Health Research which has looked at how young people with skin conditions can feel better about themselves.

Psoriasis affects up to 1.8 million people in the UK.

Damini’s shared her story with Newsbeat.

She first noticed small patches in a few areas as a child but – as with all of us – it’s the teenage years which bring the big changes.

“It started spreading, that’s when it affected the psychological side. I got bullied at school and my confidence levels dropped.

“I had a big patch on my forehead and people would say ‘oh what’s that’. I had flakes in my hair and people would say it’s dandruff.

“I felt when people were talking to me, they were staring at my psoriasis and not actually talking to me.”

At its worst it covered about 90% of Damini’s body – her legs, arms and stomach.

So what is psoriasis?

The severity of psoriasis can range from a tiny bit on one area to almost all your body being affected.

When she has a bad flare-up Damini says the impact on her behaviour would be dramatic.

“I would generally avoid going out and avoid socialising. Summer used to be difficult and I’d never wear a dress.

“Meeting new people can be difficult… I feel like they may judge me.”

‘I definitely still struggle’

Damini says she does get depressed from time to time but she’s never had any help offered for the mental impact of the condition.

“Every time I’ve had an appointment with the doctor it’s always ‘prescribe this cream’ or ‘see you in 4 weeks’ and that’s it.

“They’ve never asked how I’m dealing with it psychologically. I wish I did have help on the mental side.”

There are many treatments for the physical side of psoriasis and it can be managed to the point where there’s nothing to see.

But there’s always the chance it may return and getting the right treatment for you can take a lot of trial and error.


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