On 17 August 2022, Sona from So Sona Skincare featured on BBC Radio WM with Natalie Graham talking about life with psoriasis and how it led her to build her own skincare brand.
Listen to the full interview to hear Sona's story.
Here's the full interview transcript:
NATALLIE: If you were tuned in last week, I mentioned to you that Wednesdays was gonna all going to be all about wellness and wellbeing, things that are good for the heart, mind, body, soul, all of that kind of stuff. And we were talking last week because it's psoriasis awareness month. And certainly Nicole kindly set up for me to have a chat with the wonderful Vish and fuzz of the shaded podcast. And they have led me down this route now to work to my guest Sona Sohal. She is someone who has had her own personal experiences with psoriasis, which has led her to actually create her own natural skincare range in order to try and tackle this.
NATALLIE: So with any joy I do believe I've got sona on the line now. How are you?
SONA: I'm very well, thank you.
NATALLIE: Thank you for joining me this evening. I am so glad that Vish and fuzz have put you on my radar because as I mentioned, Wednesdays for me are all about wellness and there's so many people out there who have so many different things going on, sometimes they might be a little bit too shy or embarrassed to speak about things. There's certain issues that arise that can affect people's self-confidence and so on and so forth. And I know that psoriasis is one of those things. So my understanding is that it's something to do with the sort of an immune, or if it's an autoimmune mediated disease that can cause raised and sort of scaly patches on the skin due to some systemic inflammation and you yourself off the back of what Vish and fuzz mentioned are someone who gone through this very experience.
NATALLIE: So tell us a little bit more about what you've gone through…
SONA: Yeah. I've had psoriasis probably since the age of sort of eight, 10 years old. And it kind of just came up one day and I’m going to agree with you that It is an autoimmune deficiency for sure, but I think what also triggers it is stress in life and at the age of eight or 10 I know you're gonna ask me what stresses you have. Unfortunately at that time, I lost my mom then. So I think that was a really big trigger for my psoriasis to start and obviously losing somebody so close to your heart, it was a massive deal for me.
And that's how it kind of started for me. And since then I have grown with it, I have loved it, I have hated it, but presently and quite recently, you know what I love it, and it's part of who I am, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
NATALLIE: How was that when you were actually at school? Cause obviously, I mean school with kids as well, they can be, they don't without realizing they're so honest, bless them. Um, but sometimes some of the things that they can say can, can, can sort of be a little bit cruel without the meaning to be.
NATALLIE: So what was that, that experience for you?
SONA: So I'm gonna start off with the fact that my family were always really, really supportive in terms of having psoriasis, but when it came to school, I mean, you know how hot it's been recently? See, I would be the person wearing my bomber jacket and literally just riding it out throughout the whole of summer, because I just didn't wanna show my skin. kids would say the usual stuff. What is that on your skin? You need to sort that out. You need to cover that up. Um, is it contagious? You know, all of these things were coming out of these kids mouth, and I just wanted to cover up, I didn't wanna show my skin.
I didn't wanna show my personality. At that age, you, you kind of wanna show your personality. You wanna, you wanna grow into, into the, the young ladies that, you know, I wanted to be, but it was hard. And, and I was the person to cover it all up and just sort of almost hide away from it. And I just, I didn't wanna deal with it. I didn't wanna listen to, you know, all that noise. I just, I just wanted to be left alone.
NATALLIE: And was it something that was noticed or, or did any adults ever comment on this as well as, as people of your own age?
SONA: I'm an Indian woman and, you know, especially in my community when I would go to weddings and I would like to wear a saree, or something really glamorous and the first thing they would say is, oh, is that something serious on your skin? Oh gosh, how are you gonna get rid of that? oh, is anybody gonna marry you? And at the age of when you're your teenager and your going through womanhood and stuff, it was hard, you know, because obviously I had lost my mom, I didn't have my mom's backup here then.
And it was almost like me trying to sort of defend myself and speak to my dad, because luckily my dad's a dermatologist and now a retired GP but a dermatologist at that time. So I had his backup for sure explaining to the relatives and stuff. But it was also hard when he wasn't around because I had to sort of, you know, fend for myself and be like, look, this is what it is. This is how I'm dealing with it and leave me alone. I wish I could say then that it's okay to have psoriasis and something I wish I was saying then, but I can say now for sure.
NATALLIE: And with confidence as well, which is one of the things I love. I mean, as you've mentioned, you, you've kind of had this love, hate relationship with psoriasis. Yeah. But one of the things I think is incredible about yourself is it's led you on this path now to develop essentially your own skincare line that if I'm right, it's natural, it's vegan friendly, cruelty free. And it's great. Not only for things like psoriasis, but also those who suffer from the likes of eczema or generally sort of itchy skin.
What made you sort of sit there one day and say, do you know what I'm gonna do something about this myself?
SONA: Um, okay. So living with psoriasis, there's a lot of things that, you know, especially being a girl, being a woman, you wanna try things that you can just get from the high street and just put on your skin and you wanna feel beautiful. You wanna smell good, you know? All of these products that were out there had so many different chemicals in there, like you would read it and not even know how to pronounce some of these things. I've come from a makeup background, so I was in the beauty hall pretty much, you know, every day. So I could see these skincare products being brought out, but a lot of my customers would say, I can't use this because I have psoriasis or I have eczema, it's got too much fragrance in it, or it's got too much X, Y, and Z in it. So that's when I start thinking, you know what, you're right. Cuz I can't use any of this stuff cuz it would just aggravate my skin and it would just make me itch for sure the next day. So that's when I thought I need to start making something for myself. And luckily my husband has his own beard brand business where they have their own lab. So I kind of had the products there for me to sort of experiment with and play around with, and I'm my own Guinea pig.
NATALLIE: I was just about exactly that.
SONA: Yeah. Hundred percent I'm my own Guinea pig. So I was trying all of these things, what I call them potions, cause they are little potions of minenon myself. And I started to notice, you know what these things I'm making, all these natural body butters that I'm making are actually working. And that's where So Sona Skincare kind of was born.
NATALLIE: And was that, that must have been a special moment when you had that, how we've gotta put it. So that Eureka moment to say, oh my gosh, I think I've cracked it. This is the formula.
SONA: This honestly was great. It was a lot of trials, which was fine, you know and I didn't mind messing up. I just wanted something to work for myself. That’s where, you know, like I said, it's so frustrating going out to a shop and not being able to buy all these, you know, beautiful brands that people do create because of just so much fragrance etc in them. And the fact that I had made this and it's working on my skin. You know what…amazing.
NATALLIE: <Laugh>, but I'm sure as well, not just that, but knowing that there's people out there who are going through the same situation, all the same circumstances as yourself and dealing with the likes of the insecurities and knowing that you are in a position to potentially help them progress so that they can flourish. And like you said, rather than sort of being a shadow of themselves you can now start to bring themselves to the forefront and essentially be the person that they're really, truly meant to be.
SONA: Yeah absolutely. I mean my thing is always be true to your skin, you know, it's So Sona Skincare be true to your skin and the feedback that I'm getting is the most rewarding. Money is one thing, but do you know what the fact that I'm helping people get out of bed and the fact that I'm getting comments like, um, I'm finally being able to do gardening now when I couldn't do that, because my skin wasn't allowing me, I couldn't stretch my arms up because my skin would hurt so much. And it's my body butters, it's my exfoliating soap bars that are helping. And it's beautiful. It's so rewarding. Honestly,.
NATALLIE: All those little tasks that so many of us I think take granted and don't realize that there's people out there that may struggle. So just the last main point for anyone who's listening that might be suffering from psoriasis might be sort of sitting there and unsure about speaking to people about it or keeping themselves covered up and they might sort of feel embarrassed about these things.
What, what would your sort of words of wisdom be to those who are need of some help?
Please, please go and talk to a dermatologist, please go and talk to your doctor first of all. You know, there are so many different avenues now that you can take to help your psoriasis. If you don't wanna take the medical route, please look into natural skin care. Yes. It might take a little bit longer but it's definitely gonna help your skin. You just have to trust the process and also look into, you know, your wellbeing. What makes you happy? Do those things that make you happy because when you're stressed out, that's gonna come out on your skin.
So do the things that make you happy. I love going to the gym. I love being with my family. You know, those are the things that I love doing, which help my skin. So please talk to somebody, please do the things that make you happy. And if you're looking into natural skincare, trust the process and please give it time for sure.
NATALLIE: I think that's some, some wonderful advice there. So I can't possibly let you go without, have you got any social media feeds or any websites where people can find some more information about yourself?
Yeah, so I'm on Instagram. It's So Sona Skin, and I’ve also got my own website, which is SoSonaskin.com. So please, please check me out. And I'm, I'm all there. I'm socially all there.
<Laugh> and that's
SoSonaskin.com. Yeah. And on the, so it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for coming on as my guests tonight, um, for psoriasis awareness month and, um, yeah. All the best with your continued journey. And I think, like I said, there's gonna be a lot of people as well, that are gonna be very grateful for some of your words that you've given us this evening.