Join walk to save our skin

Millions of people across the country are affected by skin diseases including psoriasis and eczema, but a charity walk could help ease their illness.

Millions of people across the country are affected by skin diseases including psoriasis and eczema, but a charity walk could help ease their illness. Health reporter Jane Picken has the details.

On May 13, hundreds of people affected by skin disease will unite to take part in a sponsored walk at Beamish Open Air Museum, with the aim of raising vital cash for 18 charities.

The cash will go towards research, support and care for people with a variety of skin problems - and in particular psoriasis, which can even lead to long hospital admissions for patients.

Care worker Lorayne Muldoon, from Felling, Gateshead, has been in and out of hospital since developing psoriasis 12 years ago.

At one point the red, flaky skin covering 95% of her body was an endless source of discomfort, but the 45-year-old has had expert care at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where nurses apply a strong specialised cream and give her regular sessions on a UV light sunbed.

"It's affected every part of my life," said Lorayne.

"You constantly need to have your skin moisturised with this really heavy thick cream and keep covered up.

"At work my desk is covered in skin because it falls off so much and people can actually tell where I've been sitting as I leave a pile of skin behind."

"A devastating eight million people's lives are blighted by skin disease in the UK," said Indy Rihal, from the British Skin Foundation, which is just one of the charities taking part.

"This event is the only one of its kind to bring together an incredible 18 charities in the bid to enhance sufferers' lives and even save them."

Other charities involved include the National Eczema Society, the Psoriasis Association, the Ichthyosis Support Group and the British Association of Skin Camouflage.

The event, which raised £160,000 last year, has also been given celebrity support from TV host Graham Norton, actor Ricky Tomlinson, broadcasting legend Sir Jimmy Savile and screen star Richard E Grant.

"Walk for Skin is a one-of-a-kind event that gives everybody the chance to fundraise in the fight against skin disease and is literally a walk in the park," said Graham Norton.

"Millions of people's lives are affected by skin disease, and this gives us a chance to really make a difference."

What is psoriasis

Psoriasis is a long term skin condition which comes and goes over time.

You cannot catch it from someone and it affects around 2% of the UK population, usually within the 11 to 45 age range.

In simple terms it is the acceleration of the usual replacement process of the skin. Normally skin cells mature in 21 to 28 days and are then shed as dead.

But for someone with psoriasis cells mature within two or three days causing rapid flaking.

There is a variety of treatments such as creams and ointments. In serious cases there is referral to a dermatologist.

Who to contact

N To join the Walk For Skin on May 13, register free online at www.walkforskin.org.uk or call 020 7391 63 41.

N National Eczema Society helpline 0870 241 3604 or visit www.eczema.org

N The British Skin Foundation: visit www.britishskinfoundation .org.uk

N The Psoriasis Association: helpline 08456 760 076 or visit www.psoriasis-association.org.uk

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