When Hollywood couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis recently revealed they weren’t fans of regular showers, the internet was shocked.
But an activity as mundane as a shower is in fact a painful experience for some.
23-year-old Niah Selway suffers from a rare skin condition known as Aquagenic Pruritus.
This triggers an allergic reaction when her skin comes into contact with water, making it painfully tasking for Niah to have a wash regularly.
According to Niah, her skin itches not just from contact with water but sweat, tears and urine as well.
She developed this condition in her teens and doctors believed it was a hormonal reaction which was likely incurable.
My doctors put it down to a change in my hormones, but after many attempted treatments to lessen my symptoms, they soon decided that my skin condition was likely incurable, as I had responded to nothing they had tried and they couldn’t find a specific cause for why this started happening to me.
In a series of videos posted on her TikTok account, she explained how she usually prepares for a shower. She says:
I’m taking this dry brush and rubbing it over my skin to exfoliate and get rid of some of the dead skin that builds up on my skin. Then I’m jumping in the shower – it usually takes around 5-10 minutes before the pain starts, but once it does, it can last anywhere up to three hours after the initial contact with water. When I jump out of the shower, I’m in a lot of pain.
In a subsequent video, she shares with her followers the gruelling experience of drying off and moisturising.
After I’ve dried off and moisturised my skin, I’m in a lot of pain. I literally just writhe around in my bed until the pain stops and I start to feel exhausted.
While her blood pressure didn’t change massively in the clip, her temperature shot to a feverish 41°C.
Niah takes painkillers to help her cope with particularly rough allergic reactions and has launched a GoFundMe to raise money to foot the £250,000 cost of private medical treatment in Germany.