A breakout of pimples, a sunburn, and bad dandruff are all skin aliments that we probably faced while growing up, and all probably made us feel lousy, or at the very least, self-conscious.
But psoriasis takes the cake.
A new digital study by the PsoHappy app found that half of the 1,400 participants said they had low self-esteem and 41% said that they rarely felt confident. Furthermore, in the same study, 50% of participants said psoriasis had a very large effect on living and 35% felt unable to control the important things in their lives.
For those of you who don’t know, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that is characterized by an extensive red, scaly rash on the body caused by a rapid overproduction of skin cells. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, guttate psoriasis is a rare “raindrop” form, and psoriatic arthritis is a form that affects and inflames the joints. However, these different forms of psoriatic disease are fluid, and one form can morph into another. There is currently no cure.
I have pondered on the link between depression and psoriasis for awhile now, but I think that the reason why psoriasis has such a profound effect on mental health is twofold.
First, we live in a society of perfection, and at the forefront of this perfection, is the need for a perfect body, and with it, perfect skin. Second, psoriasis flare-ups, are, for the most part, uncontrollable. This loss of control and helplessness, coupled with severe feelings of imperfection, can have devastating effects for its patients.
Cara Renton of the Psoriasis Association says,
“There is a well-established link between long-term skin conditions and mental health, and many people with psoriasis find it has a profound impact on their psychological wellbeing.”
As someone who suffers from the rare guttate form of psoriasis, I can wholeheartedly agree with this statement. My guttate psoriasis affected me in so many ways that were not physical: my social and sexual life, my feeling of worth, my hobbies, my financial situation, etc. These aspects are often overlooked with a psoriasis diagnosis.
Because of this, dermatologists and leaders in the psoriasis community urge others to seek help promptly from a dermatologist and voice any concerns that you have with psoriasis. Dr. Rupert Critchley, GP and director and founder of Viva Skin Clinics agrees:
“The psychological stigma of skin disease can often leave patients feeling down, depressed, and hopeless. The first step to treatment is often the recognition of this.”
If you have psoriasis, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to your healthcare provider, reach out to the psoriasis community, and start making changes to help feel comfortable in your own skin.
If you want to read more about what doctors and leaders in the psoriasis community have to say about this issue, click here.