A young model is spreading a message of body positivity by embracing the severe skin condition that at one point left 90 per cent of her entire body covered with painful scabs.
Celia Martinez, from Spain, was diagnosed with psoriasis at 16-years-old when she discovered small red dots on her stomach that eventually spread everywhere, including parts of her face.
But rather than airbrushing or Photoshopping away her imperfections, the 27-year-old has amassed an online following of more than 10,000 followers on Instagram by confidently displaying some of her worst outbreaks to help encourage others to be comfortable in their own skin.
“In the beginning, the psoriasis made me feel really bad because I’d go out and I looked like a freak,” she said.
“To give you an idea, it felt like a drop of oil had fallen on my skin and it had burnt me.
"From there the marks kept getting bigger, it hurt more and got itchier. After two or three days it usually starts to bleed, it starts to dry out and of course it starts feeling even more painful and even itchier.”
Although the exact cause of psoriasis is not yet fully understood, weather, stress and certain foods can all trigger outbreaks.
One of Celia’s worst outbreaks was the most recent one which lasted for about a year and a half and eventually caused her to leave her job as a mechanic.
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Growing up Celia had to deal with constant comments about her skin, but having her boyfriend by her side helped her cope with her symptoms.
“People when they usually see it, everyone is surprised especially when I’m having a bad outbreak because I can imagine that it’s shocking to see,” Celia said.
“The worst comments that I get, that I think annoys me the most and affects me the most, is when they ask if I have a contagious disease, or say ‘how disgusting’ or ‘don’t touch me.'
"The first time my partner saw my psoriasis up close as a couple, he simply saw it as something very normal.”
Celia's passion for modelling helped her overcome her insecurities to wearing certain clothing - despite often being rejected for photo shoots due to her skin condition.
While psoriasis is a chronic condition, Celia hopes that her career as a model and social media star will allow people to see first-hand that you can still be beautiful while having a skin condition.
"In the future, I hope and I believe that I’ll finally get the right treatment for me. Of course, it’s a disease that lasts forever, but if some of the symptoms that really make me feel bad can be reduced a bit, it will allow me to fully live the normal life that I want,” she said.
“It’s gotten to a point where I really don’t care. It irritates me and it hurts but physically it’s not something that bothers me at all.
"When my doctor said that this would be for life, I made a promise with myself that I would love myself more than ever."
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