As part of my ambassador role with Epaderm, I wanted to discuss some honest thoughts about how dry skin conditions impact certain things. I’ve lived with psoriasis almost my whole life, and although I am managing my condition well, there are still moments that it holds me back.
Back in December 2016, two of my best friends announced their engagement, and I honestly couldn’t have been happier for them. A wedding is always a momentous occasion but when the bride and groom are two of your dearest friends it couldn’t be more joyous! When they found their venue and set their date, it was a celebration we were really looking forward to attending. Except that is when a few days later, an ominous envelope appeared through the door.
The envelope was too fancy to be a bill or circulation mail, but I wasn’t expecting anything, and no birthdays were coming up. I was both surprised and honoured to find that inside this pearlescent envelope was an invitation to be a bridesmaid at our friends’ wedding! There really was nothing I would want more than to stand side by side with my friends as they took their vows. Being in the wedding party would be a truly magnificent way to celebrate their special day, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit part of my heart sank at the news. You see, for someone with a chronic dry skin condition like psoriasis, being put in a situation like this can be difficult. In most everyday situations, I control the clothes that I wear and what parts of my skin are on show. Suddenly I would be in a position where I would be wearing a dress not chosen by me. What if my arms are on display, and my psoriasis is in a flare? What about the photographs and the thoughts of the other guests?
I had taken something so wonderful, and in just a matter of moments, I had turned it into a stress overload. I didn’t want to burden the bride because this wasn’t about me; this was about her special day.
I had many sleepless nights in the lead up to the wedding; it seemed that whenever the discussion of the big day came up in conversation, a pit would form in my stomach, and I’d be flooded with anxiety.
I know that most bridesmaids worry that the dresses might turnout ugly and garish, but when my friend showed me what she had in mind, I was in love. The fit, length and colour were all flattering and gorgeous – not that I expected anything less. The problem for me, though, was they were sleeveless! This meant that my arms and elbows would be on show – two of my most problem areas. I could hardly turn around and ask for this to be changed.
As the day drew closer, I battled internal feelings of both anxiety and excitement. I tried to put my inner demons to one side, and despite wanting to cancel and spend the day hiding under the duvet, I was determined to follow through with my commitment. This is the side I hate of psoriasis. Physically it doesn’t stop you from doing anything, but mentally the pressure can feel immense.
Something Had to be Done
My skin being on show wasn’t my only worry as, during the same time, I was also pregnant! The stress I was putting on myself was not good for the baby, and I knew something had to be done. I weighed up my options. Either I told my friend that I couldn’t be in her wedding, going back on my commitment and causing chaos for nothing more than selfish reasoning, or I figured out how to move past this and get to a point where I could enjoy the day.
I, of course, decided the latter was the better choice! This was nothing more than a mental battle that I needed to overcome. I had struggled with these types of challenges throughout my life, but I wasn’t in control here, and there was a person whose needs and feelings in the grand scheme meant more than mine.
I spent a considerable amount of time meditating to shift my mindset. I’m a huge advocate for meditation, and I have used it through some of the most challenging battles I have faced in life, so I knew this was the best place to start. I had to do some deep inner work on my own self-love. My body confidence had wavered since becoming pregnant, and as a result, I was feeling more self-conscious than ever. I started using crystals and began incorporating affirmations into my morning routine, and I would repeat these for 15 minutes while I was going about my day. One of the main ones was:
“My skin is beautiful.”
Whenever I had a shaky moment, I would repeat this in my mind and ground myself back into the present.
The effects weren’t immediate, of course, but I soon realised that all eyes were going to be on the bride and no one was going to care about my skin! In those final weeks in the lead up to the wedding, I made sure I moisturised regularly and kept my skin hydrated, so it was looking its best, and I did what my dad always told me to do: I embraced my skin.
After All That
I don’t know how many minutes I spent worrying about that day but what I can tell you is not one second was worth it. The wedding was spectacular, and I spent the day laughing, dancing and eating all the glorious food I could get my hands on – after all, pregnancy meant no drinks for me. Not one remark was made about my skin, and although I had a slight wobble with the photographer (asking him to touch up any of the photographs), I didn’t let my psoriasis define me.
Dry skin conditions are a pain, and they can make everything feel like it’s about to implode, clouding your enjoyment and stealing your joy. Please don’t allow something so irrelevant to take up so much space in your head. Our skin conditions feel so vast and overbearing to us, but in reality, it’s not worth the stress. You don’t want to look back at your life and regret all the moments you missed out on because of this.
To keep my skin hydrated, I use the Epaderm range; it reduces the appearance of my psoriasis whilst also reducing the dry and itchy symptoms.
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Love as always!
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