A Personal Story - Founder & Psoriasis Warrior, Arvie Florencio

Arvie Florencio Founder of The Psypress Ltd. and Psoriasis Warrior

Written by: Arvie Florencio

 

Hello everyone! I’m Arvie. I suffered from psoriasis since I was 17 years old.  My life took a drastic turn and I changed my lifestyle so I can manage my skin condition. It’s been a hard journey but there is hope! I am here to tell you my story.

How it begun

I was 17 years old when my mom was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. She was in the hospital for a very long time. I had many sleepless nights from all the worries and I  had to care for my younger siblings. This meant I couldn’t go to school and see my friends. My dad had to work continuously as healthcare was expensive. It was a stressful period of my life. Soon, I noticed small dry itchy patches of skin  on my scalp. That tiny patch began to spread. I had to stop putting my hair in a ponytail as it would reveal those dry patches. Eventually, I visited a dermatologist and I was diagnosed with psoriasis. The dermatologist told me there is no cure for this and I would have to manage psoriasis for the rest of my life.

Arvie Florencio Psoriasis Warrior when she got first diagnosed
I was in my last year of high school when I got diagnosed

How it progressed

My family immigrated to New Zealand. It was tough in the beginning as I experienced culture shock and tremendous anxiety. I did not have good eating and exercise habits. The climate was cold. All these factors worsened my psoriasis. After a year, my psoriasis worsened and I was covered from head to toe. I started to use ointments and creams to alleviate my condition but all the dry, scaly patches would come back only after a few days. It was a very tiring cycle. It  affected me mentally and emotionally and my self-esteem and confidence spiraled down. I also had to wear long sleeves and leggings to hide my dry, scaly skin patches even during summer. There were many uncomfortable changes in the way I live as psoriasis seemed to have taken over my life. I could still remember that painful moment when a hairdresser refused to cut my hair due to my scalp psoriasis.

How I Began to Manage it

Wrapping my body with cling wrap:

I started to put on my lotions and ointments and wrap it with cling wrap before I go to bed to help skin absorption. I noticed the plaques on my skin became softer and I would get soft normal skin for a few days. It was such a relief.  I did this routine almost every day. However, I found overtime the ointments I used, especially the steroids, made my skin 'thinner'. My skin would then easily tear or bleed when scratched or bruised. I don't wrap my skin in cling wrap now and only use the steroids when there is flare-ups but not as a day-to-day maintenance. 

 

Arvie Florencio hiking up Hunua Falls
Hiking at the Hunua Falls, my favourite hike track

Balanced Diet and Exercise:

I started to eat more vegetables, like veggie stir fries and salads and lessened my sugar intake. I used to love chocolates and sugary drinks  but I then started to find less sugary drinks such as coffee. My psoriasis gradually lessened as I incorporated these good habits into my lifestyle. 

Finding alternatives to ointments: 

I used prescribed ointments for the first 13 years of having psoriasis. I applied ointments on my scalp and I lost hair in the process. I thought that was normal. However, after giving birth, my psoriasis came back full on and I was 80% covered from head to toe. I was prescribed stronger medications, including oral tablets, and tried phototherapy. However, I didn’t like how my skin was reacting to all these. My skin was thinning and I was losing more hair. At that point, I stopped taking those medications and treatments. I started to look for natural serums, moisturizers, and supplements that can help manage my psoriasis. I started to use scalp serums and shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for sensitive skin. I started to use moisturizers that not only hydrates my skin but also has healing properties to help my skin maintain its pH balance and help manage the plaques and itch. I took supplements that contain ingredients such as collagen and Vitamin E to help in the production of healthy skin. I had to go through different websites, read through all the ingredients to be able to find the right products that work.

And so now, I mainly use natural products to help manage my skin condition. I still use the prescribed ointments if I get flare ups once in a while, but now use natural serums, moisturisers, and supplements as day-to-day maintainance. I found a skin care routine for myself that works with my lifestyle. 

Arvie Florencio married Francis Florencio
My best skin so far, only 5% covered

Stress Management: 

I couldn’t stress enough (no pun intended!) how vital it is to learn how to manage stress. I get skin flare ups whenever I am stressed. I am a big worrier and so managing stress was hard for me at the beginning. Trusting my faith in the process helped me immensely on my personal journey. I learned to let go of the things I cannot control and remove myself from unnecessary stressful situations. Stress is good as it teaches us to endure, persevere, and find new solutions. However, prolonged stress impacted my skin negatively. I have proven again and again that stress is the number one factor for me that makes my skin flare up. I am so blessed as I got married to a mental health expert and my husband helps me to manage my mental and emotional health. He’ll be a guest blogger here as well so watch this space!



Leave a comment



Related Posts

Body Wrap : Your DIY Spa for Psoriasis Management
I love doing my personal DIY spa treatments. I would do this before ‘big’ events, such as going for a job interview, goi
Read More
Living with Psoriasis : The Journey of Acceptance
Living with psoriasis parallels that of a person who is grieving. Though it may not be a loss of a loved one, psoriasis
Read More
Dating When You Have a Skin Condition
For us who suffer from skin conditions - whether that be psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis - the dating arena seems missi
Read More