Natasha Nettles is a strong woman. She’s a mom, a makeup artist, and she also happens to have psoriasis. But she doesn’t let this part of her life take her down. She doesn’t let it control who she is, what she does, or how she describes herself. She is much more than her autoimmune disease. Go inside Natasha’s life, and watch how open and comfortable she is in her own skin in this documentary-style video.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition. This means there’s no cure, so treatment focuses on managing symptoms. It can be easy to hold off on seeing a dermatologist until your next scheduled appointment. But in some cases, seeing a dermatologist is important.
Here are six reasons to pick up the phone, make an appointment, and get answers to your health needs.
If you have moderate or severe psoriasis, there are some symptoms that you’re probably used to by now. These may include red, irritated, cracked, or dry patches of skin, as well as inflammation, swelling, and itchiness.
But if you notice something new, it’s important to see your doctor. A new symptom could be a sign that your condition is getting worse. For example, if you’re finding it harder to complete daily tasks or feel like your joints are swollen, you may be developing psoriatic arthritis.
A new symptom may also be a sign that your current treatment is no longer effective. You may have built up a resistance to a cream, topical lotion, or biologic. Even if you’re not entirely sure if this new symptom is related to psoriasis, it’s better to get it checked out.
For many people with advanced psoriasis, the need to itch or scratch is the most annoying symptom. This itching sensation isn’t like a typical bug bite. It’s often described as a painful, burning sensation.
While itchiness is one of the most common symptoms, there are ways to control or reduce it. If you’re still experiencing this symptom, it’s time to speak up because it could mean your current treatment may not be working.
Your dermatologist may recommend a new treatment plan, like trying different medications or adding another cream or ointment to your regular routine. Other treatment alternatives include stress-reducing activities, cold showers, and getting moderate sunlight exposure or phototherapy.
Although psoriasis is a skin condition, there can be a psychological component to it. You may feel self-conscious about your skin’s appearance. Anxiety or nervousness about your condition can make going out in public and even socializing with close friends difficult.
If you feel like your psoriasis is controlling your social calendar, make an appointment with your dermatologist. They can suggest ways to improve your self-confidence, such as the best clothes to wear or makeup tips to help conceal your symptoms.
They may also refer you to another specialist, such as a therapist to help you talk through negative feelings.
The current TSA flying standards prohibit liquids, gels, and aerosols larger than 3.4 ounces in your carry-on luggage. Any liquid must also fit in one quart-sized zip-top bag.
While this restriction isn’t disastrous for most people, it can be for those with psoriasis. Topical creams often come in larger sizes, and you’ll likely want to reapply medicated lotion during the flight because of the aircraft’s dry air.
Before traveling, get a letter from your doctor or print out a copy of your prescription to show to any TSA officer. Your creams may still be subjected to further screenings, but you can fly easier by knowing you have everything you’ll need with you during the flight.
Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, a condition that causes joint stiffness and pain. Psoriatic arthritis commonly appears in adults between ages 30 and 50, but anyone can be diagnosed with it.
It can be hard to figure out if your psoriasis is progressing or if you’re developing psoriatic arthritis. For this reason, the Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board recommends seeing a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- swelling, pain, or stiffness in one or more joints, especially the fingers or toes
- pain or tenderness in the lower back, feet, or ankles
- joints that feel warm to the touch
- a noticeable change of appearance in nails, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed
There are hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help people with psoriasis. With researchers looking into new possibilities each year, the number is continuously growing.
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist before adding a new medication or remedy to your current treatment, even if it’s over-the-counter or a natural approach. Anything new may disrupt your current treatment plan or make your symptoms worse.
Your doctor can answer questions about new treatments or natural remedies and help you figure out if they’re good options for you. In the case of natural remedies, a doctor can tell you if they’re likely to interact with any medications you’re taking.
Ask about possible pros and cons of trying new treatments and whether your doctor thinks they’d be beneficial.