After years of feeling self conscious and sore due to her psoriasis, Paula Taylor was willing to try anything to find a ‘cure.’ And after two weeks of sticking to a vegan diet, she was amazed by the results, as her skin completely cleared.
Paula Taylor, of Ashton, was only 11 when she started to get a severe rash on her skin.
Possibly brought on by grief after losing her nana, doctors thought she had the shingles until she was hospitalised for further treatment.
As she had to undergo a strict and lengthy treatment regime at home, Paula admits to losing part of her childhood.
The 49-year-old, who works at The Hidden Jem, in Lytham, had suffered with the skin condition since she was 11 and had even been hospitalised as she had cold tar treatment.
She recalls: “Nobody knew what it was at first, as psoriasis was not widely known.
“I lost my nan and it was linked to grief. I had just started high school and I was very conscious about it.
“I didn’t want to do sport as I didn’t want anyone to see me in the shower. It was extremely uncomfortable and itchy, as it was in my hair, under my breasts and down my back.
“It came down my hairline and had gone up my neck, so I could not cover it up. My school uniform is black, so I had severe dandruff and I was bullied.
“At one time, I was hospitalised for 12 weeks and had to have coal tar baths.
“I didn’t have much of an adolescence as I was not able to socialise much. I felt very isolated. I did have a few good friends, who I still see now. They would sit around while I was in the house having my treatment put on.
“I managed to get better with the treatments until I was 18/19. But as other women were going out and spent ages getting ready, wearing fake tan and perfume, I was putting on cold tar and had greasy hair which smelt. It was not fun.”
In her late teens, Paula began to work at The Waterfront pub on Preston docklands, where she met her first boyfriend.
But when they broke up, her psoriasis flared up.
She reveals: “I was mortified and the psoriasis came back. I was hospitalised for longer but it got better with treatment.
“I had to put the coal tar on and lie there for six hours until I could take it off.”
Paula and her boyfriend got back together and they moved to Herefordshire, working in different pubs when she was 21.
She sailed through life again, as they got married and had two children and she set up her own clothes boutique.
Whilst the psoriasis was always there, she was able to keep it under control.
But four years ago, Paula faced a more stressful time, as she split from her husband and moved back to Preston.
She says: “I went through a traumatic time as I was going through a divorce. We are still friends but we grew apart and he worked away a lot.
“I had all that trauma going on and I was struggling again with psoriasis. I was always sore internally and my body was inflamed. It was getting better in the summer when the sun was getting to my skin and I was eating healthier and doing a lot of exercise. But my skin would be bad in winter.
“I would be drinking more as I was uncomfortable and eating unhealthily.”
Paula started to get her life back on track and although she struggled at first to find a job, she started working at The Hidden Jem, in Lytham.
But in February, she developed strep throat and she was suffering from anxiety, which caused the psoriasis to return.
She adds: “I had to take one day a week off to have an appointment with my GP and start with the steroid cream. It was so soul destroying and painful.
“It was beginning to have an impact on my self worth. I never felt clean as I had treatment on. The only place I felt comfortable was in the bath.
“So I began researching.
“That’s when I found Hanna Sillitoe, who had started her own blog, and it was like reading my own story, as she struggled with psoriasis. I read My Goodness Recipes and Radiant, as she went through the process of elimination in her diet.
“She started juicing and cleansing, so I bought a juicer on eBay.
“I went cold turkey and juiced every day. I was drinking celery juice, cucumber, apple juice, and spinach juice. I had that three times for three days and I was drinking so much water in between to cleanse. Then I had soups and salads every day for a fortnight.
“I had no dairy, meat or alcohol and within 17 days, my psoriasis was clear. It felt like a miracle.
“I felt incredible and nothing hurt anymore.”
Paula has now been following a vegan-based diet and combined with simple coconut and salt baths, her psoriasis has been kept at bay.
She also lost a significant amount of weight, dropping from a size 20 to a size 10.
She admits: “I follow the rules but I fall off the wagon every now and again as you have to have a good life balance. You don’t have to be so stringent, so I may have a drink, but I know what to do if I get too bad, as I just go on a juice diet for a few days.
“You can stop eating something for a few days, then reintroduce and stop something else.
“The feeling I have now is worth giving up a few ingredients, as it is beneficial to my health.”
Hanna Sillitoe had suffered from severe psoriasis, eczema and acne for more than 20 years.
When her doctor told her the only remaining treatment was chemotherapy, she began researching diet and skin, which produced dramatic results.
Now free from all skin complaints, she compiled a book, Radiant, which features a detailed 28 day life changing plan alongside more than 100 skin focused recipes.
She has also appeared on Dragon’s Den, pitching her concept, which also includes natural, botanical skin care products.
For more information visit www.hannasillitoe.com.