New research has linked childhood trauma to a higher prevalence of psoriasis in young adults.

The research* found that trauma alters the body's major stress axes and a balance shift in the level of cytokines, affecting the development of psoriasis. Cytokines are proteins that affect the growth of blood cells and other cells that help the body's immune and inflammation response.

Psoriasis sufferer Ellie, 18, from Newcastle is studying Animal Care at college and has had psoriasis since she was ten years old. Her psoriasis started during a three year period when she was sexually abused as a young girl. 

Ellie is still, ten years on, suffering the emotional turmoil of the abuse for which she has had therapy and is still heavily reliant on medication to cope with.

Along with the devastating impact to her mental health, she has suffered the spread and intensification of her psoriasis, which started as a small patch on her chest when she was ten and has gradually spread to her entire body and finally to her scalp psoriasis and face.

Ellie says that after being prescribed cocktails or steroids along with other prescription medications, Orgeon Anti Plaque Shampoo has been the only psoriasis treatment so far that has significantly decreased her scalp psoriasis and facial psoriasis without any negative side effects. 

Ellie says:

‘If you read about what triggers psoriasis you often see mentioned emotional trauma as one of the common reasons why people’s psoriasis is triggered. For me that’s my story.

I developed psoriasis after I was sexually abused aged eight. The abuse continued for three years without anyone knowing and during that time, when I was ten years old, I broke out in patches of psoriasis on my chest and neck and since then its spread all over my body.

Most recently it spread to my face and scalp which has been the worst as it’s so visible and I can’t hide it with clothes.

Psoriasis doesn’t really run in my family so the only obvious cause that I can identify is the trauma I suffered in my childhood and which I am still suffering from today.

Once the abuse was recognised, I began therapy when I was fourteen, which helped me a lot to process what had happened to me but it honestly it wasn’t enough. I was only offered therapy for about a year and then I was more of less left to my own devices.

I was put into a mainstream school where I just had to kind of survive. I was still suffering a lot of mental anguish from the abuse which made me quite insular and at the same time my skin was covered in psoriasis so I was badly bullied at school.

I had to change schools twice to try and get away from the bullying but it would start again at the new school and I became more and more isolated.

When I was fifteen I started skipping school a lot as I couldn’t face the insults and taunts about my skin.

I was eventually transferred to a special support unit for trauma victims and there I felt much safer and more supported, so I managed to get some schoolwork done for my GCSE’s but I only passed a few exams as I had missed so much school before it was almost impossible for me to catch up.

I left school at sixteen and did odd jobs. I tried to get work serving food and waitressing but often I’d get turned down because they told me they were worried what the customer would say or that my flaking skin would get in the food.

Eventually I ended up enrolling at college to study animal care, but for a while I was just drifting around without any direction. I was completely lost. I had no support in terms of therapy, I only had my  family and a few friends to help me. When I was just 17 I was assigned to a psychiatrist who put me on antidepressants because I was so anxious about my skin and I was still struggling a lot mentally with the abuse. I had so much anxiety I was barely able to leave the house for a while.

I’ve sort of managed to have a few brief relationships among all this, but my psoriasis has really affected them as people find it very hard to see past it. It’s just about OK when I’m not having a skin flare, although my skin is always the first thing I have to discuss in any new situation, but as soon as my psoriasis flares up then guys tend to freak out. People misunderstand so much about psoriasis. Most think it’s contagious or that you don’t wash and that is why you have it. It’s exhausting always having to explain to people what it is.

Due to the increasingly worsening state of my skin and the fact I was still struggling a lot with dealing with the abuse, I urgently needed more therapy but due to Covid it got delayed and in the end I just dropped off the system’s radar and once you are out of the system it’s almost impossible to get back in it.

Since I turned 18 it’s been much harder to get help for mental health issues.  I’ve asked for help several times over the last year, but I’ve been repeatedly told they are too over-subscribed with people with more urgent issues.

I was also removed from psychiatric care with Covid to blame once again so my prescription for my antidepressants are now monitored by my GP who doesn’t really know anything about the state of my mental health.

I know I’m supposed to be assessed regularly by a psychiatrist as well as have more therapy to help me gradually come off the antidepressants, they were never supposed to be a long-term solution for me as I am so young, so it’s very concerning that I am still on them with no plan in place to come off them.

Aside from my mental health. I’ve been prescribed just about every type of steroid cream for my psoriasis. I was on a super high strength steroid cream, which stung like crazy and I used to cry when my mum put it on.

I was also given coal tar treatments for my scalp and face. None of them have worked, in fact I think they have made my psoriasis worse. The coal tar was nasty brown smelly sticky stuff that made my hair stink and go all greasy and it didn’t help my scalp psoriasis at all.

I’ve also have a course of light therapy but it didn’t work for me. I know a lot of people with psoriasis tend to use the light therapy or go on sun beds but personally I have found this doesn’t help me and just made my skin feel burned and sore afterwards.

At the end of last year I decided to just stop all the steroids I was being given as they were not working and they hurt my skin. My skin flared up badly when I stopped but I just tried to cope with it.

Just before Christmas my Nan read in a magazine about a lady with psoriasis who was in a similar situation to me as the steroids and medicated creams she had been given were not working. She had discovered a treatment called Oregon Skincare which she said had really helped control her psoriasis and gave better results for her than steroids so my Nan ordered me the shampoo to try as my face and scalp psoriasis was really upsetting me.

After only three uses of the shampoo I could see the redness and plaques were already going down on my face and around my hairline, which at the time looked like I had burns. After a month of use almost all of my scalp psoriasis and the psoriasis around my hairline and neck had more or less gone.

I've kept on using the shampoo and conditioner and so far this year my face, scalp and hairline psoriasis has not flared up again and my face looks almost normal now.

Not having very visible psoriasis on my face and scalp has done wonders for my self-confidence as I don’t get such awful stars from people. I still have patches of psoriasis over my body but I’m starting to use the Oregon Skin Care products now and I can already begin to feel my skin improving. The improvements are not as fast as with the shampoo but I guess the body psoriasis I have had for longer and the patches are deeper and more established so I think they will take longer to treat.

 I will continue to use the Oregon skincare products along with the shampoo and hope that my body psoriasis will start to heal I the same way my scalp and face have.

But the improvements I have seen so far with the Oregon shampoo have been nothing short of a miracle and have made a huge difference to my quality of life. I can sleep more easily as my head isn’t itching like crazy and I am much less anxious about going out in public now as people no longer stare at me.

I can’t believe that there are products out there that work so well but aren’t on prescription or even known by doctors. It’s sad that people suffering like me are left to find these things out for themselves. Its not easy to stay motivated to keep researching stuff on your own. I was just lucky I had my Nan looking out for me, otherwise I’d never even have heard of these products.

I’m hoping to receive more therapy soon once they find space for me again. With psoriasis from trauma like mine, therapy to help you to find coping mechanisms combined with effective skin treatments can start to get control over it, so I am hopeful for the future.

I just hope that anyone out there who is reading this and who may have gone through trauma themselves and who are suffering from psoriasis as a result, that my story will help them realise they are not alone and that it’s OK to talk about it. Being more open about what happened to me and about my psoriasis which resulted from it has really helped me come to terms with it and move on with my life.


I’m hoping to get off my medication soon and that I might one day be able to move into counselling or maybe animal therapy to help others who are going through similar trauma as I have been through to see there’s a brighter future and that there are ways to deal with it.”

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