This week the Shetland Isles celebrated their fire festival Up Helly Aa. The tradition, which started in the Victorian era, is a reference to the Isles connection to their Scandinavian neighbours. It is also seen as a marker for the beginning of the end of winter.

For those of us who have psoriasis, the beginning of the end of winter can only ever be welcome news. My Scottish and Irish ancestry explains my psoriasis and I am pleased to say my skin seemed noticed that Up Helly Aa was approaching. My own private winter seems to be coming to an end, as my skin has become smoother and the angry red splodges have faded.

I wrote in my previous post “Silent Night; Itchy Night” about my experiment with oil based products to see if it would improve my skin. I can now quite confidently say the experiment was not successful. The day after writing “The Skin I Live In”, I returned to the skin care routine I have used for ten years and my skin seems very grateful. There’s nothing secret to my routine if you are wondering, its just face wipes and moisturiser. I also use hydrocortisone cream on the patches that are really bad.

Libraries could be filled with all the advice available on the internet about skin care for psoriasis and I can assure you that most of it is useless. I will never give up dairy products no matter how many “experts” on the internet seem to think it’s a good idea. I know its little comfort when you are upset and frustrated, but the best thing is to learn about your own body and its reactions to different products and foods.

While I write this, the UK is in the middle of a bitterly cold snap and the movement between cold air and central heating is still drying my skin out but something has changed. Perhaps my mood has lifted knowing that we are half way through winter, or perhaps it’s just because I went back to my old skin care products. To be honest I don’t really care why.

Up Helly Aa is about a community coming together to celebrate that they have survived winter and can see the end in sight – it seems like my skin cells have joined in the celebrations.



Jennifer White is a public affairs consultant who specialises in health at Lexington Communications. She has had psoriasis her whole life and is keen to share her experiences with others in the hope it might help them feel better about the condition. She regularly tweets on health policy and can be followed @JOCWhite.

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