My name is Judith Duncan, and I’ve had psoriasis for over four years. I was officially diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in my final year of college. Since then, many times there have been events that I wanted to attend, but I’d always doubt if I should go or not due to my psoriasis.

I always try my best not to let psoriasis control my life. Below are four times where I did exactly that.

I was terrified about getting my graduation photos taken. I was starting to think: Can my hair cover the psoriasis on my forehead? Can I get someone to do my makeup so you can’t see my psoriasis?

After a few weeks of worrying, I decided that I wouldn’t cover my psoriasis with makeup for my graduation. It’d only make my psoriasis more irritated because I’d be touching it more. So I decided that I would be better off without makeup.

I got my pictures taken with a big smile on my face. At the end of the day, it was all about me celebrating my graduation. And you can barely see the psoriasis on my forehead!

When do you tell your date you have psoriasis? If, like me, you have facial psoriasis, it can be hard to cover up your psoriasis or avoid the subject. For a long time, I chose not to date because I was scared about what people would say about my skin. I wanted to avoid speaking about my psoriasis journey.

But when I started dating again, few people asked about it. I found I was bringing up my psoriasis before they did! The longer I’ve had psoriasis, the more comfortable I’ve gotten about talking to people about it and answering questions others have about my face and the condition.

I learned that I shouldn’t have worried about what other people thought for so long. I was glad I got back to dating and didn’t let psoriasis ruin that part of my life!

When I started applying for jobs, I was always scared that the psoriasis conversation would come up. Because having psoriasis meant I had to go to appointments every few months, I was worried that it would affect my chances of being hired.

I ended up finding my dream job and decided to apply, hoping they would understand my circumstances.

When I went for the job interview, I told them all about my psoriasis journey. I told them that I would need to go to appointments, but explained that I’d work overtime to make up for the time I’d miss.

The company was completely understanding about my condition and hired me the next day. They let me go to my appointments when I needed to and said they didn’t need me to make up the time — they completely understood.

I loved my role at the company and was so happy that my fear of them not understanding the condition didn’t hold me back from applying.

When my friends asked if I wanted to go on a beach trip, I felt dread about the thought of being in a bikini with my psoriasis visible. I considered not going, but really didn’t want to miss out on a great girls’ trip.

In the end, I decided to go and packed outfits that I’d feel comfortable in, knowing they would cover my psoriasis. For example, instead of a bikini, I wore a swimsuit with a kimono over it on the beach. This covered up my psoriasis, but also allowed me to not miss out on a fantastic beach trip.

A psoriasis flare-up can happen at any time. Though it’s easy to hide away, you shouldn’t let psoriasis control your life.

It can take time to build up courage, but it’s always better to look back and be able to say that you didn’t let psoriasis control your life, rather than “I wish I had done that.”

Judith Duncan is 25 years old and lives near Glasgow, Scotland. After being diagnosed with psoriasis in 2013, Judith started a skin care and psoriasis blog called TheWeeBlondie, where she could speak more openly about facial psoriasis.