On the subway one day this past summer, a slender teenage boy wearing shorts and a t-shirt was standing nearby. There was nothing unusual about his clothing unless you took into account one thing: his exposed skin. A redhead, the boy's complexion was very pale in a few spots. The rest -- on his neck, all over his arms and all over his legs -- was violently red and patchy and scaly and looked so painful that I wanted to cry (and take him shopping for soothing skincare). I wondered whether a girl with such an angry case of psoriasis like his would be out in shorts and a tee. Probably not. In fact, a new survey conducted by the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients reveals psoriasis devastates self-esteem in afflicted women, and affects their relationships too.
psoriasis and self-confidence: unsexy time
If you aren't familiar with the condition, hit this link to see google images of psoriasis-affected skin. An inflammatory disorder that affects 3 in every 100 Canadians, psoriasis is characterized by itchy, scaly, angry red and crusty patches that can cover small and vast areas of the body. (If you remember, a while back, Kim Kardashian revealed that she has psoriasis.)
From a recent survey of women suffering from psoriasis, the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients (CAPP) has released the following stats (infographic via communautepsoriasis.ca):
- 85 per cent of women stricken with psoriasis choose clothing that conceals as much of their affected skin as possible
- 51 per cent of women with psoriasis sometimes say no to sex because of their skin
- 10 per cent of women who suffer from psoriasis would prefer wrinkles instead
- 80 per cent of women with psoriasis would rather cope with grey hair
- 79 per cent of women afflicted with psoriasis say it negatively affects their emotional well-being
- more than 80 percent of women who have psoriasis say their condition increases their stress levels
- about 80 percent of women with psoriasis says it prevents them from feeling sexy "sometimes," "often" or "very often"
And the only thing that rates lower than having psoriasis is acne.
tlc for psoriasis-afflicted skin
There is still no universal cure for psoriasis, but we can't leave you without some suggestions to help you cope. That's just mean. Treatment options are available via a physician, and new ones are apparently always in the works. As well, there are some things you can do at home. Skincare advice at communautepsoriasis.ca includes the following:
gently does it
- choose mild cleansers and soaps
- opt for unscented, fragrance-free and alcohol-free skincare
- wear loose clothing to reduce friction on skin -- anything tight, including wristbands, jewelry, even shoes, can irritate
- keep nails short with smooth edges, and try not to scratch or pick or cause further injury to skin
hydrated skin is happier skin
- make super-moisturizing body lotions and creams a never-skip-it part of your daily regimen
- apply creams and lotions to damp skin to help lock moisture in
- use a humidifier in the dry months of the year
- try "occlusion therapy" sessions -- wrap moisturized areas of skin in a tensor bandage, or fabric, or plastic to prolong high levels of moisture
keep up with the meds
- follow instructions carefully regarding topical treatments and medication
- carefully prep skin to benefit from treatments: soften crusts and scales in order to remove them gently so skin can better absorb moisturizer/medication
Do any of you suffer from psoriasis? (I'm so sorry if you do.) What do you use to cleanse and moisturize effectively? How do you cope?