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Happy World Psoriasis Day: Survey Reveals Psoriasis Torpedoes Sexy Time

That unhappy, uncomfortable, sometimes painful skin makes intimacy difficult isn't a surprise. But what's a girl or guy suffering with psoriasis to do?
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psoriasis torpedoes sexy time story_this art photo by Diane Tisseur

On the subway one day this past summer, a teenage boy in shorts and a t-shirt was standing nearby. Nothing was unusual about his clothing, but his exposed skin was a different matter. A redhead, the boy had a very pale complexion in a few spots. The rest – on his neck, all over his arms and 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 an angry case of psoriasis like his would be out in shorts and a tee. Probably not. In fact, a survey conducted by the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients reveals that 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

  • 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 on the self-esteem scale than having psoriasis is acne.

tlc for psoriasis-afflicted skin

psoriasis skincare tips

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 includes the following:

gently does it

  • choose mild cleansers and soaps
  • reduce the temperature of your shower to warm, not hot – hot water will strip skin of vital natural oils and moisture and exacerbate psoriasis
  • 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

  • before using moisturizer, try first misting skin lightly with pure, fragrance-free thermal spring water – Avene makes a good one that helps calm irritated skin, as does La Roche-Posay – and patting it into skin for an extra dose of hydration
  • apply moisturizer or balm to damp skin to help lock moisture in
  • try medical-grade lanolin – it's sticky, yes, and needs to be warmed between your hands before it's massaged into skin, but it's also a humectant that attracts moisture, which psoriasis-stricken skin desperately needs. Med-grade lanolin has been thoroughly purified; it's used in hospitals over wounds to protect skin, reinforce the moisture barrier and foster healing
  • if lanolin isn't an option for you, make super-moisturizing balms, body lotions and/or creams a never-skip-it part of your daily regimen
  • 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?