I can’t help but to get a little emotional when I think back over how much my skin has improved since I first noticed symptoms of psoriasis back in the fall of 2017. I’ve come a long way. Now, almost two years later, I feel like I’m in control, and I’m proud of myself from the progress I’ve made. The first step in coping with both chronic and mental illness is to give yourself a routine and know what works best for you. Routines can be calming in that you can control some aspect of your daily life. For me, routines provide a sense of relief and independence. Here are four things that saved my psoriatic skin:
I cannot thank The National Psoriasis Foundation enough for providing me a source of support through one of my darkest moments. After a coworker told me that I had psoriasis (before I was clinically diagnosed), I immediately researched it and tried to find as many answers as I could.
Luckily, I stumbled across The National Psoriasis Foundation. I was matched with a “Patient Navigator” named Emma, who I’d email frequently to help figure out how to cope with my psoriasis. Around this time, I’d been developing guttate psoriasis alongside inverse psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis create small holes onto the skin that are basically open sores. This one is sort of terrifying to have scattered all over your body. However, the inverse psoriasis was the most pain I’ve ever experienced, as inflammation is on the inside of the skin, causing the skin to be sensitive to the touch. It felt as if an iron was always pressed against my skin.
Fortunately, Emma provided a warm reassurance that my psoriasis journey had just begun and that healing was possible. As a way to kickstart the healing process, she sent me samples of products catered specifically for psoriatic skin. These products lasted through my winter break and helped ease the symptoms. Psoriasis slowly began to feel like something I could conquer.
Also during that winter break, NPF invited me to Boston to attend the lighting of the Prudential Center. I met others who were just like me, finding their way through psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I was even asked to speak at the event! Having a strong support system eased my anxiety and fear that I used to have about my psoriasis!
I don’t know where I would be without this product. This was in the sample pack that Emma sent me. During the worst flares, I couldn’t shower. My skin would immediately dry in water, causing my skin to burn and split open. I was using products (with CBD oils) that I thought would soothe my skin. When in reality, I was doing just the opposite. I’ll never forget my first shower with this. I was almost brought to tears as my skin began to smoothe again. I’ve been using this since late December and haven’t had an issue with it. It’s activated by water, so you don’t dry yourself before putting it on. After using it for six months, my psoriasis has completely cleared. I fully recommend this (even if you have ezcema or dry skin).
Mario Badescu saved my skin. I’ve used all three “colors”, however for psoriatic skin I found that the green tea one was the most effective in clearing dry patches and redness. I also started spraying this in my hair every day, and found that it eased the uncomfortable sores and scalp flaking that I used to be so embarrassed about. Now, I have little to no flaking when I brush my hair. Whereas before, it used to snow whenever I ran a brush through my scalp. It may not sound like a big deal, but it was unnerving and I became anxiously self-conscious whenever I’d scratch my scalp in class, and leave behind piles of dry skin.
drinking water + changing my diet
It may sound a bit juvenile, but drinking water daily did wonders for my skin. Before I was diagnosed, because I was in a foreign country and having a nut allergy meant I was limited to eating what I knew: McDonald’s. It was convenient and relatively inexpensive. There were two McDonald’s on campus that I’d always go to for a quick meal. But in doing so, I was poisoning myself with the grease and only inflaming my skin more. Now, I don’t eat fast food as much. Instead, I trade fries for a fruit smoothie for a snack and drink plenty of water throughout the day. It may be annoying to constantly drink water, but trust me, it flushes out the toxins that will cause you to flare up. It’s essential!
These are my top four things that truly saved my skin. It hasn’t been an easy or quick journey in the least. I don’t know if people know this, but a side effect of psoriasis is actually anxiety and/or depression. I can second that. If you’d like to see a post about how I coped mentally with my psoriasis, let me know! (Skin-positive post coming soon. Thank you all so much for telling me it’s something you’d check out!)