By: Brooke Cagle
Skin conditions can affect everyone and while there are a vast number of conditions, today we will discuss the three most common types that affect almost everyone.
On Thursday, March 24, 2023, Tyrone McLeod, Olivia Trivett, and Natalia Javelidze, three GetSkinHelp Interns held a discussion to talk about acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Their conversation ranged from their personal experiences to how artificial intelligence is helping people deal with chronic skin conditions. The discussion provided insight into their personal skin struggles and how they rose above them.
Tyrone: I want to start with a skin condition that has likely affected just about everyone at some point in their life, and that is acne. I used to work as a cook at McDonald’s in high school, and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t escape the grease, oil and heavy pungent air of the kitchen. And that meant I was more prone to acne breakouts. The breakouts were not as bad compared to some of the people I worked with, especially those with fair skin. I think I was lucky, but I’m also a black man and my pimples were way less noticeable.
Olivia: I had a similar experience working in fast food. For me, it was eating fast food that caused a lot of breakouts. However, for me, my acne got bad during the start of COVID.
I was working at Starbucks and had to wear a mask. Constantly. For hours on end. On the bus. On the subway. Walking outside. While at work. And it was not unusual to be wearing a mask for 12 hours a day.
My acne breakouts were at an all-time high. It was horrible. Worst yet, washing my face did not seem to help. I felt so insecure all the time.
Natalia: I totally know where you are coming from.
I had a lot of trouble with acne when I was 16 years old. I would use the medication prescribed by my dermatologist and the acne would disappear. But, without fail, it would reappear and it became very problematic. It significantly impacted my self-esteem and I had this feeling of constant embarrassment, which lead to social anxiety and isolation. Adding to that, my acne was painful to a touch and it left me scars that had to be treated.
Luckily, my acne as an adult has been under better control.
T: It is funny. Acne is almost a rite of passage for teenagers. The unfortunate part is that some people have it so much worse and it can have a serious impact on their overall wellbeing.
Thankfully, as adults, we learn to take care of ourselves and – since we have a little more money – have access to better resources that can help us with our acne problems.
O: I did not have a good grasp on taking care of my skin as a teen. But it also was not as “trendy” as it is now. There just was not a lot of online content or education available on skincare. Heck, I did not even know what a cleanser was. It was always “wash your face with soap and water.”
I am glad this is no longer the case. Content creators have really filled a void and started educating young people on proper skin care. It’s important.
T: What about psoriasis? Have any of you ever had psoriasis? I have never had any experience with it, and to be honest, I did not even know it existed before I joined GetSkinHelp.
N: Oh, trust me, you are the luckiest person here to not have to experience psoriasis.
I remember back in 2020 when I first noticed a little rash on my elbow. I thought it was just a mild allergy triggered by my body wash or moisturizer.
It was not.
Over the winter the rash quickly spread to cover my whole elbows. It was even bleeding. It just kept getting worse and worse because wait times to see a dermatologist were so long. When I finally got to see one, I was told it was just a “winter skin disease.”
Apparently, Canada’s climate can do that to your skin but despite that diagnosis, none of the medications they gave me worked.
I knew something was wrong, still. So, I got a second opinion and that is when I was diagnosed with psoriasis. This dermatologist and gave me the correct medications and after about two-to-three weeks, my elbow finally started getting better.
That is when I made a horrifying discovery.
Psoriasis was also present on my scalp and my ears. I was living every day with this feeling of dread that it would cover my whole face. My whole body. Thankfully, after some time and treatment, the psoriasis did start to get better in those areas as well. I was confident and felt as though I would be free of this skin condition. I finally could live my life normally.
I could not have been more wrong. Psoriasis is a chronic illness, which means it is going to be with me for the rest of my life.
I have had to make lifestyle changes to manage it, including having a healthier diet, not exposing my skin to too much sunlight. Oddly, I cannot even wear knitted clothes since material irritates my skin.
I am just grateful that I got help from my dermatologist and that the doctor is helping me manage my psoriasis on my own. I know it will never go away, but I now feel in more control.
T: That is insane. I’m sorry you had to and still go through that.
O: Absolutely. I had no idea psoriasis could be so debilitating.
N: No worries, it is just a part of my life now. I just had to adapt and adjust my life accordingly.
T: One of my cousins, though, has something similar to psoriasis called eczema. It was nowhere near anything as severe as you experienced, but she’s had it since she was about two years old.
I remember it being present on her hands and fingers. It has been about 10 years, so my memory is foggy with the details. I think now her eczema has been stabilized for the most part.
N: Actually, now that you mention it, the beginning stages of psoriasis are similar to eczema. That is probably why my first doctor misdiagnosed me.
O: Oh, that is interesting. In the winter months, my eczema tends to act up and it appears in clusters over the top of my hand because my hands get dry a lot faster due to the low humidity. Certain dish soaps and hand soaps make it worse. The itchiness is so annoying.
N: What about in the summer?
O: No, I don’t get it in the summer.
N: Really? I had eczema on my feet and hands and it flared both during the winter, when it was super cold, as well as in the summer, when it was super-hot.
O: Oh, no, not mine. I think it is just because I sweat more, at least, I think that might be the reason why. Coincidentally, I grew up in Halifax and I do not remember having to deal with as much dry skin as I do now living in Ontario.
T: I think this is a good conversation to have, especially when the three of us are learning more about common skin conditions. Personally, since I have not had the same experience you both have, I want to thank you for sharing your stories. I learned quite a bit.
O: Glad we could help!
N: Totally! Hopefully, you will be able to take our experience and help others in the future.
Skin issues can be overwhelming, but GetSkinHelp is here to make things easy.
To start, get a referral form filled out by any doctor (you can find it here). After that, book an appointment and a GetSkinHelp doctor will see you within two weeks to get your skin checked out. and a GetSkinHelp doctor will see you within two weeks to get your skin checked out.
It is now easier than ever to have control of your skin!
About the author and participants
Tyrone McLeod is a marketing student at Sheridan College with an interest in the arts and creating content.
Olivia Trivett is a marketing student at Sheridan College with a special interest in social media. She loves skincare, reading, and creating content