More Than Skin Deep

I first noticed it in the fall of 11th grade: red flaky patches on my knees and elbows.

I didn’t think much of it at first but then the patches grew larger and began to spread. I went to the doctor but she couldn’t confidently identify what skin condition I appeared to have. So, she sent me to a specialist. Four months later, the skin specialist told me that I had psoriasis. He explained that the cause of psoriasis is unknown. He also told me that there was no cure.

After prescribing me steroid cream to help control the inflammation, he quickly sent me on my way.

When I was in my freshman year of college, I had created a morning regime to cater to my skin. I spent twenty minutes after every shower applying this cream to the patches that covered most of my body. I even had a special gel for my scalp and face that would burn every time I applied it. I adapted and pushed forward and tried to not let it negatively affect my outlook on life. I would use Band-Aids, long sleeves and makeup to try and cover up the worst parts of my skin.

But the truth was…every time I looked in the mirror, all I felt and saw was ugly.

Now, after another ten years of living with this skin, I’ve learned a different approach.

I’ve learned to look at myself differently. Every time I struggle with feeling beautiful I think about all those red flaky patches and I send them love. I repeat over and over in my head,

“I love you…I love you.”

Each time, a wave of gratitude gently washes over my body; for these patches have taught me an incredibly powerful thing.

They have taught me that beauty isn’t what I believed it to be.

Beauty is not clear, tanned skin or vibrantly colored clothes or shiny silky hair.

Beauty is not a perfectly contoured face, long luscious lashes or dark smoky eyes.

Beauty is you, exactly as you are.

Beauty is you doing what sets your soul on fire.

There is no need to hide those wrinkles, those skin blemishes or those scars. No need to highlight your best assets and draw attention away from your perceived flaws. Embrace

every part of your body, from your pinky toes to those dimples on your bum. Embrace how your hair naturally falls and how puffy your eyes are when you first wake up in the morning. Whether its psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, acne or hyperpigmentation… can I tell you something?

Your skin is just physical.

Real beauty lies deep within. It radiates out of our eyes and through the touch of our fingertips. It’s a light that shines without the validation of others. It’s a love for yourself that fills you inside, regardless of all external circumstances. It’s you being your purest, most vulnerable, most raw self.

 

Real beauty is more than skin deep.

 

 

Words & Photos, Haley Jardine | Edited by, Sarah Chase