Incredible transformation of psoriasis-stricken runner who can finally wear shorts after winning his 18-year battle with his red, itchy skin
A commercial director who suffered with 'embarrassing' psoriasis for nearly 20 years has finally banished his outbreaks.
Greg Pittard, 48, from London, endured itchy, confidence-crippling lesions across a quarter of his body.
It became so bad that he refused to wear shorts, despite being a keen runner.
But now he's liberated from the skin disorder's scaly blotches after taking part in a new medical trial.
‘I had psoriasis for 18 years on my arms, chest, back and knees,' he told MailOnline.
'I’m quite a confident chap and I learned long ago about the importance of inner strength and self-belief, but I stopped going swimming about two years ago when I became self-conscious of people looking at me.
I’d also given up on finding a partner because I simply couldn’t imagine getting into intimate situations with the way I was feeling about my body.
‘I used steroid-based creams prescribed by my doctor, spent an awful lot of time trying to find out what caused it and spent a lot of money being seen privately.
'But everyone I saw seemed to say the same thing: “We don’t really know what causes it. Here, put some cream on.”
Then, in 2017, Mr Pittard was accepted as the last patient for UK trials of Soratinex - a steroid-free, three-step regimen (gel, cream and oil) for the chronic form of psoriasis vulgaris.
‘I went along but didn’t hold out much hope,' he said. 'At the time, my psoriasis covered about 25 per cent of my body when it flared up. I found it frustrating and upsetting.
'But I used the treatment twice a day as instructed and within days I was seeing an improvement.'
Almost instantly, his condition began to improve.
‘It is quite a powerful thing to watch something quickly clear up that you pretty much felt was irreversible,' Mr Pittard said.
'Within a couple of days my red patches were starting to clear up and then I began to see other patches below them, which were areas of normal skin.
‘Then it became less inflamed – that is something psoriasis sufferers will find very important – and my skin calmed right down.
'It is continuing to improve and I’m seeing clear, good skin. There is about a 70 per cent improvement and obviously I’m hoping it goes to 100 per cent.'
‘I have now been clear for more than a year, and that is the phenomenal thing about this,' he continued.
'People with psoriasis sometimes find treatments that work for a while, but the problem always comes back after a short time.
‘I’m feeling so much happier and confident about myself. I am in a relationship with a wonderful woman called Jacky.
'There had been a time when I worried I would never be confident enough to meet someone, but here I am.
'Only recently, we went on holiday to Sardinia and I was able to strip down like everybody else and lie by the pool. It felt wonderful.’
Psoriasis – which causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales – affects more than 125 million people worldwide.
The severity of the condition varies from person to person, for some causing a minor irritation, while for others it has a major impact on their quality of life.
The condition occurs when the process by which the body produces skin cells is accelerated.
Normally the cells are replaced by the body every three to four months, but in psoriasis the process only lasts about three to seven days.
The resulting build-up of skin cells creates the patches associated with psoriasis.
While the condition is not fully understood, it is thought the increased production of skin cells is related to a problem with a person's immune system.
While there is no cure, a range of treatments can be used to improve symptoms and the appearance of the affected skin patches.
In most cases, a sufferer will be prescribed creams and ointments to ease the symptoms.
If these prove ineffective, doctors may opt for phototherapy treatment. It involves exposing the skin to certain types of ultraviolet light.
In the most severe cases, treatments such as oral or injected medicines that work throughout the body are used.