In early January, Ashling Armstrong had believed she was suffering a mild sore throat and an unsightly case of acne. But as the tiny teardrop red spots spread across her chest, arms, legs, back, and torso, she knew her skin was in for something else. The blotches worsened in size/color, and Ashling grew very concerned.
When physicians weighed in on the matter, a prognosis sent the 22-Year-Old into an emotional black hole.
Doctors diagnosed Ashling with Guttate Psoriasis, a skin disease common in children and young adults, which often erupts after an infection like strep throat. It isn’t a chronic condition and usually goes away on its own after a few weeks. Expectedly, the diagnosis got Ashling down, and she was even told the sore throat caused the sudden rash.
In the qualified nurse’s case, the condition expected to go a few weeks has persisted for nearly six months.
“It started on my chest in mid-January. It was very mild at this point. When I was younger I used to have really bad acne so I didn’t think anything of it. My mom came up to Belfast the following week and asked to see my back and I hadn’t seen it myself and she said ‘Ashling, your back is completely covered,” the Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland -based, told Kennedy News.
In an update, Ashling told her over 400K TikTok followers that her blotches were finally beginning to fade after five-light treatment sessions.
The recovery comes after a nearly unbearable term of embarrassment. She explained: “At the beginning, it made me very angry and a wee bit insecure. I was covering myself constantly. I was wearing a North Face coat when the sun was shining outside and was just really embarrassed by the whole thing. I just didn’t want anyone to know about it so I was constantly wearing jeans, jumpers and just anything to cover it. It came onto my face and that’s when I was like ‘I can’t hide this anymore.”
Notably, on Easter this April, Ashling boldly shared a clip of herself in a halter crop top, which failed to hide the blotchy red marks.
She said of the video: “I posted it and it’s literally the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I feel so amazing about it. My confidence has skyrocketed, I can’t even describe it, and it’s amazing. I feel really powerful. [The blotches are] everywhere, my ears, face, the bridge of my feet, legs, hips, bum cheeks, everywhere. I get people staring every day. I honestly don’t care anymore, I’m so past the point of caring.”
The nurse has since had people message her saying the blotchy red marks look like an art. Also, psoriasis patients have thanked her for shedding light on the condition.
Ashling reportedly expressed: “Posting on TikTok genuinely just makes me feel good about myself and when people comment and say I’m beautiful, I feel good. Especially with this on my skin, being called beautiful makes me feel a lot better because you do feel that you’re ugly with that type of thing. It’s one of those things, at the end of the day, we need to normalize it. Everyone’s beautiful in their own way, shape or form.”
So far, her self-esteem has helped mitigate the sting that comes from a passerby shamelessly gawking at her leopard-printed skin. And when the demons of insecurity unexpectedly surface, Ashling fights back with poise.