Self-image is how we perceive ourselves. Sometimes we may fall victim to self-doubt or self-destructive behavior. Psoriasis can have a dramatic effect on a person's self-image, as the physical symptoms of psoriasis often don't reflect what you'd like to see in the mirror.
While your insides are attacking themselves, your skin becomes red and inflamed with patches that shed dead skin. However, you shouldn't let your condition speak for the beauty hiding beneath your skin. It's what's on the inside that counts, even though psoriasis can make that hard to believe.
As the onset of psoriasis can come at an early age, it can affect a person's view of themselves and also how others view them. People will undoubtedly look at your skin. Some will make rude comments. The secret to a positive self-image is not letting those comments linger in your mind.
Tips to Creating a Positive Self-Image
Most cultures put an overwhelming weight on physical appearance. Having a skin condition like psoriasis can make you overly self-conscious. That, obviously, can have a profound impact on your overall wellbeing.
In fact, one study published in the British Journal of Dermatology states that people with severe psoriasis were twice as likely to suffer from depression and contemplate suicide as those without the condition (British Journal of Dermatology, 1998). Before you go and do anything that can't be undone, know that you are not alone. In fact, several women with psoriasis are professional models.
Modeling aside, the goal of successful psoriasis treatment means addressing the mental and emotional toll it can have on a person. This may require the help of a trained mental health professional, or it can simply be daily reminders to yourself that you're more than your condition. Don't let anyone—namely your condition—define who you are.
In a thread on Reddit's psoriasis page, user netr0 addressed a young woman's concerns regarding psoriasis-related depression. He said he finally got over the stigma of wearing shorts and other ways most people expose their skin.
"I still get a little anxious when I go to take off my shirt at the beach to go swimming but I just think 'if some person is looking down on me in any way because of this, this is a person I don't even care to know,'" he wrote.
That's good advice because while you can't single-handedly change the world's view on outward beauty, you can decide who to listen to and who to shut out.
Tune It Out
Yes, some people are going to stare or make rude comments. There's no real way to prevent that from happening, unless you keep your skin covered from head-to-toe. But we all know that's no way to live.
It's all about being comfortable in your own skin. To do this, you have to concentrate on all the different facets of your personality beyond your exterior. Your personality is determined by how you treat other people and the effect you have on the planet during your time here. Dwelling on the negative aspects of your exterior can only make your life more stressful.
Stress, you may know, is a huge trigger for psoriasis. The more you let things go, especially negativity from others or yourself, the better your skin can get. It's kind of a weird self-fulfilling prophecy. In short, you're awesome and don't listen to anyone that says otherwise.
Setting Realistic Goals for Your Treatment
In an ideal world, there'd be a magical pill you could take to cure psoriasis. (Actually, in a truly ideal world, there would be no such thing as psoriasis.) Still, with shots, creams, ointments, therapies, and lifestyle changes available, nothing works perfectly for everyone. In fact, a reality of psoriasis treatments is that they often take time to reach their desired effect, or you may have to try different therapies.
Staying up on your treatments and communicating with your dermatologist are the best ways to control your symptoms.
Here are a few tips for caring for your skin and reducing the symptoms of psoriasis:
- Avoid wearing black or other dark colors.
- Patterned shirts, such as plaid, help hide embarrassing flakes.
- Comb your hair before going to bed.
- Use moisturizer and other products that don't irritate your psoriasis.
- Apply moisturizer and any topical treatments immediately after a shower.
One bonus side effect of all that post-shower ritualistic moisturizing is that you'll look younger for longer than your non-psoriasis counterparts.
Seeking Help When It's Needed
Psoriasis can create some real hardships for people, namely social anxiety and depression. Seeing a mental health professional isn't a sign of weakness. It's acknowledging that you know it's tough to go it alone.
Seeing a professional about any psoriasis-related problem can help you develop your own strategies on dealing with the potential stress, anxieties, or depression you may face. If it feels like it's getting to be too much, never hesitate to ask for help.