Londoner Jassem Ahmed spotted the skin behind his ears peeling away when he was 19.
After it spread to his arms and legs, the condition became so painful, Jassem, now 28, had to go to hospital where he was diagnosed with psoriasis.
As a result of the condition, his nails have fallen out, he can only wear boxer shorts and can barely move due to the pain in his feet – and he hasn’t left the house for two months.
Jassem has tried steroid treatment that has damaged his body, chemo agents which scarred his liver, and UV light treatment that left him temporarily blind.
He said he also develops six months worth of skin a week and it all falls off.
So when he sees other people with a clear complexion, Jassem says he feels ‘skin envy’.
But he wants to raise more awareness of it and has made a short film – Trapped In My skin – A Battle With Psoriasis – detailing his experiences with it.
‘For a long time, my friends didn’t know that I had psoriasis because I would hide it, with long sleeves and turtle necks and trousers,’ said Jassem.
‘But it’s so bad now that I can’t really wear clothes. All I can really wear are boxers so that also means I stay around the house.
‘Alcohol and dairy make it worse as well, so I’ve totally cut them out.’
Jassem was prescribed powerful steroid ointment which helped at first but whenever he tried to wean himself off it, the condition would return ‘ten times worse’.
Hoping to clear his skin with ultraviolet light therapy which is similar to a sunbed and delivers UVB light, Jassem ended up temporarily blind.
He claims he was advised to remove his goggles during the treatment to help psoriasis on his eyelids but it affected his sight for several hours.
Jassem also developed a condition called Cushing’s syndrome – a collection of symptoms due to exposure to hormones – as a result of using steroid cream on his skin.
‘One of the things that I have had to really come to terms with losing is hope. Hope is the most dangerous thing to have when battling psoriasis,’ added Jassem.
‘When all my friends and family come and see me and are supportive — and they tell me there might be a miracle — I tell them not to be like that.
‘You have to accept it. It takes over your whole life. You have to accept it’s a part of your life. Or you become depressed.’
Talking about it online has helped Jassem and he is now trying to help others going through a similar journey.
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