Man appreciates diet change and £19.99 skin cream to treat his psoriasis

An Arts Council officer who “became a recluse” after waking to find his face and body covered in red and scaly raindrop-like patches is looking forward to celebrating Manchester Pride this weekend after a £19 “miracle cream” .99 and a change of diet has healed his anger-looking skin.

Blessed with a clear complexion during his teens, Scot Cunningham, 27, began suffering from mild psoriasis — a skin condition that causes scaly patches of often flaky skin — on his arms and torso when he turned 21.

Steroid creams kept the mild flare-ups at bay until October 2021, when Scot, from Salford, Greater Manchester, woke up to find his whole body and face covered in unsightly and itchy red spots that wouldn’t budge.

His self-confidence was so affected that he rarely went outside, in April 2022, Scot says he swapped steroid creams for a plant-based diet and an over-the-counter remedy that cost less than £20, adding: “When I saw my face brighten up , I got tears of happiness.”

The psoriasis at its worst on Scot Cunningham’s back (Collect/PA Real Life)

He added: “I felt on top of the world and liked my sparkly, funny, sassy self again.”

When Scot first developed psoriasis in October 2017 while studying for his master’s degree in radio and TV script writing at the University of Salford, he thought little of it.

He said: “I had just moved into my dorm and when I got out of the shower I saw two or three red spots on my torso.

“I just assumed it was the generally dirty environment that caused my skin to react.”

Scot Cunningham, 27, had psoriasis that covered his entire body (Collect/PA Real Life)

On the way to the GP, Scot was prescribed steroid creams to lighten dry patches of skin – which initially worked.

He said: “The creams worked, but looking back, I think they just masked the problem instead of actually addressing it.

“I got into the same old cycle of using the steroid creams when my skin was bad for two weeks, seeing the spots fade and then using a regular moisturizer for two weeks. Then my skin would go bad and I would use the creams again.

“It was a vicious circle, but at the time it was just a minor inconvenience.”

Scot Cunningham, 27, in June 2022, after regaining his confidence (Collect/PA Real Life)

Scot added: “My skin didn’t hurt me physically and you couldn’t see the patches with clothes on, so I could still work, socialize and go out without feeling self-conscious.”

But then, in October 2021, Scot, who is single, contracted a throat infection, only to wake up a few days later to find small, red, scaly patches all over his body.

“It seemed to happen overnight,” he said.

“There were dozens of these pink, raindrop-sized scales all over me. I was very scared. I had no idea what had happened.”

Scot Cunningham, 27, lost all confidence as the psoriasis spread to his face (Collect/PA Real Life)

On the way to the GP, Scot was diagnosed with guttate psoriasis – a skin condition that causes small tear-shaped sores on the chest, arms, legs and scalp – and was prescribed more steroid creams.

But this time they didn’t work, according to Scot, who said: “The creams didn’t seem to work anymore, but when I saw someone they just said they were my only option.

“I had always been grateful for my youthful appearance and I always got attention for dating apps, but I started to lose all my confidence.” I had a horrible feeling of dread every time I looked in the mirror – I looked awful. I felt totally depressed and utterly hopeless.”

Psoriasis on Scot’s Armpit (Collect/PA Real Life)

When the sores started spreading to Scot’s face in March 2022, he stopped going out.

He said, “I became a hermit.

“I turned off my camera during team meetings at work and stopped organizing meetings with friends because I didn’t want them to see me.

“When I had to go to the supermarket, I saw all the kids staring at me and I felt terrible.”

Scot Cunningham, 27, with psoriasis around his ear (Collect/PA Real Life)

He added: “I went to a newsagent once and they asked me if I had an illness and I was hurt. I thought, ‘I will never buy my supplies from you again.’”

On his way to the emergency treatment center at Manchester Royal Infirmary, Scot was recommended private light therapy – often used to treat psoriasis – but faced a 60-week waiting list on the NHS.

He prescribed another cream and antihistamines, which had no effect, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He said, “It was April and I thought, ‘I can’t take this anymore.'”

Scot Cunningham, 27, before and after finding the cream and changing his diet (Collect/PA Real Life)

Scot added, “I started researching guttate psoriasis for hours every night — from 5:30 p.m. after work to 2 a.m. — in an effort to understand and improve the condition.”

Speaking to fellow sufferers on skin forums and digesting the research, Scot set himself up on a new regimen — starting with his diet.

He said: “Before I started this, I never ate a lot of fruits or vegetables. I just lived on ready meals – mainly pasta and chicken meals – and everything I could get my hands on.

“I started three days with an apple, cucumber, and celery juice cleanse from natural skincare company Hanna Sillitoe, then started making dairy-free, meat-free, and gluten-free soups and dinners.”

Scot Cunningham, 27, before and after finding the cream and changing his diet (Collect/PA Real Life)

He added, “I had things like apple and beet soup, parsnip and carrot soup or pea risotto and meatballs with mushrooms.”

At the same time, Scot began taking supplements, including vitamin D3, zinc, omega3, and magnesium, and began exploring plastic-free moisturisers.

He said: “I found Balmonds Skin Salvation after reading recommendations and picked up the 120ml jar for £19.99 for my face and I gradually started to notice a difference.

“On my body, I started using a different cream and slathering coconut oil and turmeric essential oil on my body at night.”

Scot Cunningham, 27, feels ‘fantastic’ again (Collect/PA Real Life)

In conjunction with Scot’s new diet, he gradually began to see a difference.

He said: “I was warned that it can sometimes get worse for the first few days before it gets better, which it briefly did.

“Then I got in for about a month and the spots finally started getting smaller and less red.”

Scot regained some confidence and decided to take a holiday with friends to Gran Canaria, Spain in June, where he noticed a huge difference.

Scot Cunningham, 27, feels better than ever with his skin gone (Collect/PA Real Life)

He added: “Every day I had gotten better and I was in the sea and took my time, by the end of the 10 days my face and body looked almost clear.

“I couldn’t believe it – I felt incredible.” While Scot allowed himself to include some white meat and fish back into his diet, he continued his newfound love of fruits and vegetables and stuck to his strict new skincare regime – finally starting to fill up on his social calendar again when his improved skin tone restored his self-confidence. He said: “I went out with friends again in June and it was great, dancing all night and feeling great.”

Scot Cunningham, 27, with friends at Salford Pride in June (Collect/PA Real Life)

He added: “I’m back on the dating apps too and feel so much more confident.

“It’s been life-changing.” And with Manchester Pride approaching this August Bank Holiday weekend, Scott can’t wait to enjoy the party with friends without worrying about his skin.

He said, “I can’t wait to be with friends and just feel good about myself, knowing I’m healthier and happier inside and out.”