Giorgia Lanuzza, 24, first developed the chronic skin condition at the age of 13, after her father died suddenly and eventually could spend just 10 minutes in the sun
A woman who has spent years covering up a painful red rash across her body says she has finally come to love the skin she is in.
Giorgia Lanuzza, 24, has lived with psoriasis, which covers 97 per cent of her body, since she was 13.
She used to dread looking the mirror and would cover up in long-sleeved T-shirts and leggings to hide the inflamed blotches of dry skin.
Schoolmates, strangers and dates avoided touching her because they feared her condition was contagious – though she assured them it wasn’t.
Giorgia reached rock bottom when she was forced to cut short a six month trip to Thailand after realising she could only spent 10 minutes a day in the sun.
But Giorgia has learned to appreciate her skin and says her condition does not make her any less beautiful.
“My psoriasis looks like red, raised spots and people looked at me as if I was disgusting and they might catch something.
“I felt so self-conscious about the condition that it was ruining my life.
“Stressing about my flare-ups only made them worse – so now I look at my skin with a positive mindset.
“Finally I’ve come to terms with my skin and have realised that I am beautiful.
“After all these years I finally have confidence in my own skin I want to show other women that their ‘abnormalities’ could be their strengths.”
Giorgia first developed psoriasis at the age of 13, when her father died suddenly.
She said: “The condition is often triggered by trauma, and when I lost my dad I felt like the world had ended.
“My world went to pieces – we were so close when I was growing up, and I couldn’t bear losing him.
“Grieving was difficult enough. Then, when these flaky patches started appearing on my skin, I had no idea what was happening.
“At first it was just on my arms and scalp, but gradually, it spread across my entire body – even my face and hands.
“I was just a teenager and all I wanted was to be like other girls my age – wearing makeup, pretty clothes and talking about boys.
“Instead, giant patches of my skin were red and unsightly – I felt like a freak compared to other girls my age and did everything to cover up.
“I tried not to itch the dry patches but, even so, in class other girls would point at my scab-covered arms and say that I was ‘infected’.”
Over the next 10 years, Giorgia was prescribed a cocktail of different creams by dermatologists to tackle her psoriasis.
But, as the condition is chronic and becomes worse in moments of stress, exhaustion and in heated temperatures, Giorgia says she couldn’t escape regular flare-ups.
She recently launched a campaign to embrace the way her body looked including the sore patches.
She explained: “I put together a portfolio of photos of myself in bikinis and other skimpy clothing, to show I wasn’t going to hide my psoriasis anymore.
“The wounds are red and scab-covered in the photos, but I won’t hide them away or edit them. I’m proud of them now – they remind me that I’m strong.”
Now, the wannabe fashionista hopes to follow in the footsteps of Canadian model Winnie Harlow, who has made international headlines.
Like the model, who has broken down traditional stereotype surrounding ‘beauty’ by posing with the skin condition vitiligo.
Giorgia hopes to encourage other women and girls with her own campaign as well as help the 2 per cent of people suffering from the condition.
She added: “I am finally realising that I don’t have to see my psoriasis as a curse. I know my dad would be so proud of me for my attitude.
“Now I’ve come to terms with psoriasis, I want to help others do the same.
“We might have conditions that make us look different from other women, but we are still beautiful.”