Comfortable in Your Own Skin: Boosting Confidence With PsoriasisAuthor: Diplomat Pharmacy Date: January 21, 2020
Characterized by inflamed patches of skin (“lesions”) topped with silvery white scales, plaque psoriasis is a visible condition that can affect your relationships, professional life, and mental health. Psoriasis can be limited to a few spots or involve extensive areas of the body. In a recent study conducted by NFO World Group Inc., 73% of people with severe psoriasis and about half of people with moderate psoriasis reported low self-confidence serious enough to impact virtually all aspects of life.1 Travis, 28, who has been living with psoriasis for more than 20 years, knows firsthand how his condition can affect self-esteem.
“I have psoriasis on my scalp, in my ears, on my right leg, above my hips, and in the creases of my eyes by my nose.” Travis explained. “When I was younger, I was very self-conscious about what I wore because I wanted to hide as much of my condition as possible.”
School was difficult, and he was teased by students — even teachers didn’t know how to handle his condition. “Once, my fourth-grade teacher took me aside and started brushing flakes out of my hair,” Travis said. “Everyone thought I had really bad dandruff but it was the psoriasis on my scalp that was causing flakes.” Diagnosed when he was 6, Travis didn’t realize all the implications of his psoriasis until that moment: “That was when it hit me how everyone around me perceived my condition.”
When Travis began applying for jobs, he experienced another challenge: looking professional in the workplace. “Having flakes in my hair or dry patches in between my eyes draws a lot of attention. And on top of that, itching a lot.”
Travis takes medication to help manage his condition, and uses a steroid cream for psoriasis on his skin and a special shampoo to help reduce flakes and calm irritation. “People make snap judgments about appearance. Using these products helps me feel more put together,” Travis said.
“I used to be really self-conscious about wearing shorts because of the lesions on my right leg,” said Travis. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that psoriasis is just a part of who I am. I don’t try to hide it anymore.”
When Travis started college, he became more accepting of his psoriasis. “I still struggle with it sometimes, but I just have to remind myself that this is a part of me, and the people I care about will accept that.”
“If people are bold enough to ask you about [your psoriasis], be brave enough to explain your condition,” Travis recommends. “Everyone — whether they have psoriasis or not — lives with a part of their body they are not comfortable with. You are not defined by your condition.”
In addition to managing the discomfort psoriasis causes with medication, you can try some tips to help boost your self-confidence:
- Manage your stress. While the underlying cause of psoriasis stems from the body’s immune system, stress can often make symptoms worse or cause a flare. Similarly, a psoriasis flare can increase stress. To help keep flares to a minimum, explore ways to cope with stress, such as exercising or meditating.
- Reduce the itch. Scratching can cause breaks in the skin, flaking, and bleeding that can worsen psoriasis symptoms. If you’re experiencing itching, speak to your doctor about available treatments.
- Seek help for depression. People with psoriasis are twice as likely to become depressed as the rest of the population.2 Finding ways to help cope with depression can help improve your outlook and mental health.
- Talk to others about your condition. It can be difficult to talk about how psoriasis affects your life. But confiding in someone you trust can help you gain control of your condition.3
You can find more information about psoriasis treatment on our website.