You are not just your skin. Focus on the incredible parts of yourself that aren’t physical.
Welcome to Ask Joni, an advice column by Joni Kazantzis, the community guide for Bezzy Psoriasis. Joni has lived with psoriasis for over 25 years and is passionate about sharing what she has learned with others. In her column, Joni answers questions sourced directly from community members. To have your questions answered, join one of Joni’s nightly live discussions.
“I’ve been dealing with psoriasis for over 14 years and I’m feeling really down about it. What can I do to get some confidence back?” – Bezzy Psoriasis Member
The pain and discomfort from a psoriasis flare can impact your daily life, and because it’s so visible, it can also influence your self-esteem and confidence.
In fact, a 2020 study found that both low self-esteem and stigmatization significantly affect people with psoriasis’ day-to-day life. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to let psoriasis control your confidence. Here are some ways to feel good about yourself during a flare.
You know yourself and your body better than anyone, including medical professionals. Understanding what type of psoriasis you have, your treatment options, and your triggers can help you feel more confident in advocating for yourself.
Without that knowledge, it’s possible to feel overwhelmed and anxious when speaking about your psoriasis.
Knowing what’s going on with your skin can help you make more informed treatment decisions and feel more confident about your condition.
If you’re uncomfortable showing off certain areas of your body during a flare, clothing and accessories can help cover your spots. You can also use your fashion choices to show your personality and make you feel more confident.
When choosing clothing during a flare, keep it loose and soft. Select materials that are breathable like cotton, modal, silk, and linen. Synthetic fabrics can include chemicals that irritate your plaques. Also, choose loose and flowy items; tight clothing is another irritant that can worsen symptoms and make you feel uncomfortable.
Choose your accessories carefully, too. Hat brims or headband seams that rub directly against plaques will hide them, but they can also irritate them.
Wearing light colors is a good way to camouflage the flakes that escape from your plaques.
Don’t feel that you must cover your psoriasis. Wear whatever you feel the most comfortable in, even if it shows your spots.
When I started openly sharing my experience with psoriasis and doing advocacy work, it finally lost its power over me. I used to be embarrassed just saying the word psoriasis and would always try to redirect the conversation away from me. Now I talk about it daily.
Friends and family typically want to support you but aren’t sure how. Tell them what your concerns and challenges are with your psoriasis. Sometimes just getting those bottled feelings out helps clear your mind. When loved ones know what you’re going through, they can better understand why you’re feeling down, don’t want to go to certain places, or why you need to reschedule plans.
With colleagues or acquaintances, you don’t have to be as open, but a little education can go a long way. For example, letting them know psoriasis isn’t contagious can ease their minds from the unknown. Most people generally know what psoriasis is, but haven’t seen it up close before.
Find your psoriasis buddies! There are support groups that meet online or in person, events from the National Psoriasis Foundation, social media groups, and incredible platforms like Bezzy Psoriasis. You can meet others who understand exactly what you’re going through, learn from them, and support each other. Connection reminds us that we’re not alone on this journey.
When your psoriasis has you feeling upset or down, say something nice to yourself. You are not just your skin. You have a lot to offer. Focus on the incredible parts of yourself that aren’t physical.
It’s all about changing your inner dialogue. Don’t say something to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend.
Be kind to your psoriasis, too, especially when a flare is causing pain. Spend some extra time putting on moisturizer. Vent about it in your journal or online psoriasis forum. Eat something that fights inflammation. Soak in a lukewarm bath with Epsom salts to help with itchiness, dryness, and scaling. Self-care is for the body and the mind.
There are many things you can’t control about your psoriasis, but you can learn to manage every aspect of it.
A flare tells you to listen to your body and to show up for yourself. Create mental space to heal and focus on your treatment. With time, you’ll start understanding what your flare triggers are and the best ways to treat them.
Accepting that psoriasis is a part of your life and adjusting to it is key to improving your emotional and mental health. Learn to love yourself with and without a flare. It can be hard sometimes, and that’s okay. Finding that self-love can be a process.
If you find yourself struggling to find confidence with psoriasis, talk with your doctor about getting additional mental health support. This is not a journey you have to do alone.
Medically reviewed on August 11, 2022
Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at email@example.com.
About the author