‘I hid my body from husband Alex after psoriasis gave me panic attacks and drove me to breakdowns’, says Olivia Bowen

LOVE Island's Olivia Bowen "hid" her painful psoriasis from husband Alex and told how her mental health suffered as she battled the chronic skin condition.

The reality TV star bravely spoke after showing fans red and itchy "angry" patches all over her body earlier this year.


In an exclusive interview with The Sun Olivia, 27, revealed she couldn't bring herself to take off her clothes in front of her husband during aggressive flare-ups.

The star said: "I’m shocked when I say it out loud but I used to turn away when trying to put my T-shirt on without him seeing my back and front because it was really bad, and he was like ‘what are you doing? Why are you hiding? I don’t care’.

"That was such a struggle for me to understand that he was accepting of it.

"Back in the day I’d be bullied for it, boys would laugh at me and think it’s disgusting – so having this guy that fully accepted me was quite shocking.

"Your mind runs away with you, but he is so supportive."

Olivia said she has come to terms with her skin thanks to encouragement from her fans and fellow sufferers after speaking out.

She added: "I don’t feel 100 percent confident in myself. I'm not sure I ever will. I’ve learned to accept that.

"I am gonna have my down days. I am gonna feel crap sometimes, that’s completely human. Sharing it with everyone else has helped me so much.

"I remember when I was taping on Instagram, I had psoriasis and it really flared up. I’d been itching and scratching all day. I was having a breakdown. I had a panic attack and I was so scared to share it.

"When I was 17 no one accepted it. No one was there for me to look up to. When I put it out there I was so scared, but the support – people I don’t personally know – it’s overwhelming. It really helped my confidence.

"I have had so many inboxes about my psoriasis recently. Girls and guys saying I’ve struggled with this for so long. 'You helped me so much you make me feel comfortable in my skin.'

"It makes you feel like you’re doing a lot which is nice."

Olivia has partnered with fair online casino and Bingo site, PlayOJO to launch a sex education style campaign to promote it’s latest safer gambling campaign, “Safe Bets”.

The campaign has been designed to help people understand that although Gambling is fun, it should be safe fun and this video explains how it can be made safer, by drawing parallels with another area of life we have fun and the idea of protection is already well established – safe sex!

She said: "When we filmed it I struggled to keep a straight face, the whole thing I was just laughing through it.

"It was such a nice way to get such an important message across. I’ve had people in my past and present who have struggled with gambling problems and I think it’s something that’s really hard to talk about for people my age.

"I thought the way the idea of sex education back in the 80s might grab people’s attention and take on board some of the safer gambling messages.

"It starts out as fun, it's obviously quite addictive, having tools in place to cut playing short or cap your spend is really useful."

To view the full video please and for further details on the campaign please visit PlayOJO.



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