A SCOTS psoriasis sufferer has told how the condition has impacted her relationship by leaving her not wanting to be "touched, cuddled or kissed".
Jude Duncan, 26, has had the irritating skin condition for six years and says it can affect intimate relationships and dating.
The marketing officer, who is a 'Skinfluencer' on Instagram has been with her boyfriend for two years and says she is lucky that he is very supportive.
But she also has moments where her itchy and flaky skin affects her mental health and leaves her not wanting intimacy.
Psoriasis, which affects around 2 per cent of people in the UK, is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales.
Jude, from Gourock, told the Scottish Sun: "Im very lucky to have a supportive partner but I know that if I'm not having a great nights sleep, and tossing and turning, then hes not getting a great nights sleep and that can have an impact on them as well.
"Actually having that communication with a partner is really important but it can be really difficult as well for people to open up.
"I'm in a lucky position where I feel very confident with my psoriasis but also sometimes it has felt like if I'm having a flare up I dont want to be touched, I dont want to cuddled, I dont want to be kissed. So it does have that impact on it.
"I wouldn't say that because Im with someone I havent had those difficulties."
She added: "Its very hard to get your partner to understand what you're going through mentally as well as the physical aspect of it.
"And the fact that they cant do anything to help puts a strain on it, so its just different."
Jude also had a period of time before she was in a relationship where she was trying to date - but potential suitors were put off by her condition.
She has hit out at the 'Insta perfect' world which means people can be very shallow and focus on a person's perceived flaws.
She said: "On every date I would be asked 'what's wrong with your face' and stuff like that, so it was definitely a topic of conversation.
"It was the elephant in the room, like when is this going to be brought up.' And thats not how it should be.
"It shouldnt matter if I have a bit of psoriasis on my face or not whether you want a second date, but it really did impact that a lot.
"We live in this Insta perfect world where people with flaws or differences arent seen to be good enough and people dont want to be seen with someone like that.
"But to be honest with you if you have a problem with how I look, I dont really want to date anyone that treats people like that anyway."
Negative affect on Mental Health
Speaking on Mental Health day, Jude explained how various factors surrounding the condition can affect a person's mental wellness.
That includes the discomfort itself, but also the negative impact of how other people treat you.
Stats show that 67 per cent of sufferers believe that the condition can have an affect on your mental health.
Jude said: "If you are uncomfortable and thats causing you to not sleep then thats going to have an affect on your mental health, but also just that uncomfortableness all the time, being in a constant state of irritation, not being able to relax - that is going to have a toll on your mental health.
"A lot of people are like oh lets focus on treating the skin but they dont look at surrounding factors such as mental health.
"Because its such a visual condition it can make you incredibly insecure and really lonely and isolated because it's not really talked about. So that can also have an impact on your mental health because you feel like youre bottling it up and not talking about it.
"If youre not getting any sleep that means the next day you're not going to be functioning to your full potential, and you're stressing yourself out because you're not maybe getting as much done as you want and that's going to result in you stressing out more, which is going to affect your sleep, which is going to affect your mental health and its just a really vicious cycle.
Mental health stats:
Public perception stat:
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"I think for me as well, when people stare or make comments, sometimes they mean well but that can really also play on your mental health."
She added: "I definitely had comments in the past. I've had people say really horrible things to my face.
"But I'm OK that in that I'm in a position where I'm confident enough. There's so many people out there that arent and a situation like that would knock their confidence.
"I was in a position that I was able to move on and deal with it but thats not always the case."
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on (free) 116123.
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