A fashion and lifestyle blogger who shares the highs and lows of living with a chronic disease like psoriasis, which shows up as visible, red, flakey patches on the skin? Why would someone do that?
Let me answer that question for you. My name is Sabrina Skiles. I have been living with psoriasis for almost two decades, and as a blogger, I share all about it online. Here’s why.
I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 15 years old. We didn’t know much about the disease at the time, except that it can be hereditary and my mom had it.
Right away, we knew I had to see a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis. Because of that vital step, we went straight from diagnosis to treatment. It saved so much time.
I’ve been on all the treatments you can think of: tar baths (yes, that happened when I was 15!), topicals, steroids, biologics, and oral treatments.
Yes, I’ve even tried your aunt’s magical lotion. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t cure psoriasis.
But since then, I have been able to manage my psoriasis thanks to several important steps. I share my story because I want to be the resource I needed when I was diagnosed.
So, let’s dive in!
It was hard being a young girl in high school with a very visible disease. It was hard for me to understand what was going on in my body, much less explain it to others.
That was when I decided to start educating myself (and my family) about what psoriasis really was. The more I started to learn about psoriasis, the more I became intrigued as to what was going on in my body.
I started seeing specialized doctors. I learned that this wasn’t something I did to myself. It wasn’t something I ate or drank (or what I didn’t eat or drink). It was my immune system that was going haywire.
To put it in scientific (yet relatable) terms, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) defines psoriasis as “an immune-mediated disease [a disease with an unclear cause that’s characterized by inflammation caused by dysfunction of the immune system] that causes the inflammation in the body.”
And the more information I digested from the NPF, the more I wanted to share so others could understand what I was going through. So, I started sharing everything.
I shared how important it was to see the right dermatologist; how important it is to advocate for yourself when you feel like your treatment isn’t working; how important it is to find community; how to dress when you’re experiencing a flare up and everything in between.
Wait, no one was doing this already? Then I could do this.
I could share how sad I felt when my treatments weren’t working. I could share the fabrics that didn’t irritate my skin. I could share how to style the clothes you already have in your closet around your flare ups.
I could share the tip I live by when it comes to moisturizing my skin. (Hint: It’s putting on lotion as soon as you get out of the shower because it locks in the moisture!).
I could share everything.
I found a way to help others who might be suffering in silence and may not know that there are so many ways we can manage our disease while living a happy, healthy, and stylish life.
Cue the development of my blog, SabrinaSkiles.com.
I was going to be the resource that I needed when I was first diagnosed.
Fast-forward 20 years, and I’m now the mom of two young boys. They also have extremely sensitive skin, and both had eczema when they were babies.
I have taught my sons about the importance of using clean skin care products because others could irritate our skin and make our skin “mad at us.” (Pro tip: Using kid-appropriate language helps them understand it on their level).
I’ve had other moms reach out to me to thank me for sharing my journey on my blog because it has helped them better understand their children and how to help them.
I’ve also had others (both men and women) reach out to me to ask what kind of fabrics are the best to use because they can’t find any that don’t irritate the skin. My advice: Stick to light-weight breathable fabrics like cotton, viscose, and rayon. The stitching on these fabrics is farther apart, allowing more air in so your skin can breathe.
By comparison, the stitching on heavy fabrics like spandex or wool is much closer together. This makes it a heavier fabric by not allowing air in, which could irritate sensitive skin.
I’ve spoken as a psoriasis patient advocate at health conferences on why it’s important to share my story. To be honest with you, I want to share reliable and relatable information on what it’s like living with psoriasis.
There’s so much medical jargon that’s hard to digest. I want to share it in a more easily digestible way. There’s also a lot of misinformation out there.
And I want to be the one who changes that. If just one — no wait, let’s change that. If five people learn something new about psoriasis from anything that I share, I will call that a success.
It’s these messages, community, connection, and speaking opportunities that keep me going. They have continued to let me pursue my passion of helping others.
Meanwhile, I continue to keep my psoriasis under control.
Now, let’s go back to the original question: Why would someone who is in the spotlight as a fashion and lifestyle blogger put herself out there while living with a visible disease like psoriasis?
There are many reasons.
So I can change your mind. So I can stop one more person from giving a mean glare toward someone who might look different than them. So others know that important research is still needed for this complicated disease.
So I can help another mother understand what psoriasis is and the importance of seeing the right doctor for her child. So I can help give someone the confidence to share their story in hopes of more people getting reliable information out there on what it really is like living with psoriasis.
Spoiler alert: We are just like you. We aren’t contagious. Our immune systems are just super complicated. Our skin replicates about 100 times faster than yours does (cue the flaking), and no, there isn’t a cure (yet!).
Bear with those of us who have psoriasis. Know that we’re just living out here living our best life while managing psoriasis and looking stylish.
Say hi next time. Ask us to coffee. You never know whose day you’ll make.
Sabrina Skiles is mom and lifestyle blogger who created SabrinaSkiles.com, as a resource for millennial women and those living with chronic conditions like psoriasis and breast cancer. Sabrina has been a breast cancer survivor since 2020 (diagnosed in 2019) and has been living with psoriasis for more than two decades. Her goal is to empower millennial moms and inspire confidence rather than guilt, while aiming to show those living with chronic diseases that it is possible to lead a happy, healthy and stylish lifestyle.