Living with moderate to severe psoriasis often means facing an unpredictable cycle of pain, discomfort, and even embarrassment. But it doesn’t have to. From over-the-counter ointments, creams, and moisturizers to more advanced prescription medications, psoriasis treatments can help ease current flare-ups and prevent future ones from recurring. They may not directly erase any embarrassment or anxiety that comes from having the condition, but they may help you feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. Below, five people share their inspirational stories and reveal how they’re keeping their psoriasis under control and their confidence riding high.
Ryan Arladay, 29 – Diagnosed in 2008
“After my diagnosis I was super stubborn and wanted to see multiple dermatologists just to get different answers. And with psoriasis, it’s a little difficult because there’s only such a limited amount of options for you that they were basically giving me the same things. … But you have to educate yourself. You really have to educate yourself. You know, obviously you need to listen to your doctor, know what the disease is, and what you can do to make it better for you.”
Georgina Otvos, 42 – Diagnosed in 1977
“I definitely feel like as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more comfortable and able to come to grips with feeling like it’s not who I am. … If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I would definitely tell myself to be less self-conscious about it and not to be so embarrassed, because it was always on my mind and I was always thinking about it. With my mom always putting lotions on me and trying new treatments and going to doctors, I think it was always at the forefront of my mind, but I would tell myself to just not worry about it and not be so embarrassed by it.”
Jesse Schaffer, 24 – Diagnosed in 2008
“When I first got diagnosed, my biggest concern was, ‘What am I going to look like at the beach? And are people going to make fun of me?’ … And it has happened. People have pointed it out before, but I just shut them down. I think that 99 percent of the self-consciousness is in your head. Definitely.”
Riz Gross, 25 – Diagnosed in 2015
“My biggest concerns when I was first diagnosed was that it would spread really fast, because it kind of came out of nowhere to me. And it made me really nervous to think that it could just spread all over my body, and that it would be really painful, and that people would stare at me nonstop. ... After time, I kind of realized that it was a really manageable condition and that altogether it was more important that I take care of myself and be comfortable with myself than how other people saw me."
Victor Lim, 62 – Diagnosed in 1980
“I had to learn how to say no and learn my body, because I was so used to going, going, going. I’m [an] ex-chef. I was working 13 hours a day on my feet. I had to stop doing that, but I learned how to live with it. I’m still working, I’m still productive, and now I know to listen to my body. My mother had psoriasis, and then when I came down with it, it was not a big shock. But then now my daughter’s worried that she’s going to come down with it as well. She’s in her early 20s, so I said, ‘No, you’ve got a few years to find out.’ So she’s worried about it. I said, ‘Well, don’t worry about it. Just don’t stress out over something that may not happen.’”